Rate constants for proteins binding to substrates with multiple binding sites using a generalized forward flux sampling expression
To predict the response of a biochemical system, knowledge of the intrinsic and effective rate constants of proteins is crucial. The experimentally accessible effective rate constant for association can be decomposed in a diffusion-limited rate at which proteins come into contact and an intrinsic association rate at which the proteins in contact truly bind. Reversely, when dissociating, bound proteins first separate into a contact pair with an intrinsic dissociation rate, before moving away by diffusion. While microscopic expressions exist that enable the calculation of the intrinsic and effective rate constants by conducting a single rare event simulation of the protein dissociation reaction, these expressions are only valid when the substrate has just one binding site. If the substrate has multiple binding sites, a bound enzyme can, besides dissociating into the bulk, also hop to another binding site. Calculating transition rate constants between multiple states with forward flux sampling requires a generalized rate expression. We present this expression here and use it to derive explicit expressions for all intrinsic and effective rate constants involving binding to multiple states, including rebinding. We illustrate our approach by computing the intrinsic and effective association, dissociation, and hopping rate constants for a system in which a patchy particle model enzyme binds to a substrate with two binding sites. We find that these rate constants increase as a function of the rotational diffusion constant of the particles. The hopping rate constant decreases as a function of the distance between the binding sites. Finally, we find that blocking one of the binding sites enhances both association and dissociation rate constants. Our approach and results are important for understanding and modeling association reactions in enzyme-substrate systems and other patchy particle systems and open the way for large multiscale simulations of such systems. Published by AIP Publishing.