Rhodopsin is a light-driven G-protein-coupled receptor that mediates signal transduction in eyes. Internal water molecules mediate activation of the receptor in a rhodopsin cascade reaction and contribute to conformational stability of the receptor. However, it remains unclear how internal water molecules exchange between the bulk and protein inside, in particular through a putative solvent pore on the cytoplasmic. Using all-atom molecular dynamics simulations, we identified the solvent pore on cytoplasmic side in both the Meta II state and the Opsin. On the other hand, the solvent pore does not exist in the dark-adapted rhodopsin. We revealed two characteristic narrow regions located within the solvent pore in the Meta II state. The narrow regions distinguish bulk and the internal hydration sites, one of which is adjacent to the conserved structural motif "NPxxY". Water molecules in the solvent pore diffuse by pushing or sometimes jumping a preceding water molecule due to the geometry of the solvent pore. These findings revealed a total water flux between the bulk and the protein inside in the Meta II state, and suggested that these pathways provide water molecules to the crucial sites of the activated rhodopsin.
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