13 research outputs found

    Computational Calorimetry: High-Precision Calculation of Host–Guest Binding Thermodynamics

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    We present a strategy for carrying out high-precision calculations of binding free energy and binding enthalpy values from molecular dynamics simulations with explicit solvent. The approach is used to calculate the thermodynamic profiles for binding of nine small molecule guests to either the cucurbit[7]­uril (CB7) or β-cyclodextrin (βCD) host. For these systems, calculations using commodity hardware can yield binding free energy and binding enthalpy values with a precision of ∼0.5 kcal/mol (95% CI) in a matter of days. Crucially, the self-consistency of the approach is established by calculating the binding enthalpy directly, via end point potential energy calculations, and indirectly, via the temperature dependence of the binding free energy, i.e., by the van’t Hoff equation. Excellent agreement between the direct and van’t Hoff methods is demonstrated for both host–guest systems and an ion-pair model system for which particularly well-converged results are attainable. Additionally, we find that hydrogen mass repartitioning allows marked acceleration of the calculations with no discernible cost in precision or accuracy. Finally, we provide guidance for accurately assessing numerical uncertainty of the results in settings where complex correlations in the time series can pose challenges to statistical analysis. The routine nature and high precision of these binding calculations opens the possibility of including measured binding thermodynamics as target data in force field optimization so that simulations may be used to reliably interpret experimental data and guide molecular design

    Reliable Oligonucleotide Conformational Ensemble Generation in Explicit Solvent for Force Field Assessment Using Reservoir Replica Exchange Molecular Dynamics Simulations

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    Molecular dynamics force field development and assessment requires a reliable means for obtaining a well-converged conformational ensemble of a molecule in both a time-efficient and cost-effective manner. This remains a challenge for RNA because its rugged energy landscape results in slow conformational sampling and accurate results typically require explicit solvent which increases computational cost. To address this, we performed both traditional and modified replica exchange molecular dynamics simulations on a test system (alanine dipeptide) and an RNA tetramer known to populate A-form-like conformations in solution (single-stranded rGACC). A key focus is on providing the means to demonstrate that convergence is obtained, for example, by investigating replica RMSD profiles and/or detailed ensemble analysis through clustering. We found that traditional replica exchange simulations still require prohibitive time and resource expenditures, even when using GPU accelerated hardware, and our results are not well converged even at 2 μs of simulation time per replica. In contrast, a modified version of replica exchange, reservoir replica exchange in explicit solvent, showed much better convergence and proved to be both a cost-effective and reliable alternative to the traditional approach. We expect this method will be attractive for future research that requires quantitative conformational analysis from explicitly solvated simulations

    Consensus Conformations of Dinucleoside Monophosphates Described with Well-Converged Molecular Dynamics Simulations

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    Dinucleoside monophosphates (DNMPs) have been described using various experimental approaches as flexible molecules which generate ensembles populating at least a small set of different conformations in solution. However, due to limitations of each approach in its ability to delineate the ensemble of conformations, an accurate and quantitative description of certain conformational features has not been performed for all DNMPs. Here, we apply a temperature replica-exchange molecular dynamics approach to fully and quickly converge conformational distributions of all RNA DNMPs immersed in the TIP3P water model using the AMBER ff14 force field. For a selection of DNMPs, the conformational ensembles were also generated when immersed in the OPC water model using alternative AMBER and CHARMM force fields. The OPC water model and other force field choices did not introduce new conformational classes but shifted the populations among existing conformations. Except for pyrimidine–pyrimidine dinucleosides, all other DNMPs populated four major conformations (which are defined in the main text and labeled A-form, Ladder, Inverted, and Sheared), in addition to an Extended form. Pyrimidine–pyrimidines did not generate the Sheared conformation. Distinguishing features and stabilizing factors of each conformation were identified and assessed based on the known experimental interpretations. The configuration of the glycosidic bond and the nonbonding interactions of hydrogen bond acceptors with the 2′-hydroxyl group were found to play determining roles in stabilizing particular conformations which could serve as a guide for potential force field modifications to improve the accuracy. Additionally, we computed stacking free energies based on the DNMP conformational distributions and found significant discrepancies with a previous study. Our investigation determined that the AMBER force field was incorrectly implemented in the previous study. In the future, this simulation approach can be used to quickly analyze the effects of new force field modifications in shifting the conformational populations of DNMPs, and can can be further applied to foresee such effects in larger RNA motifs including tetranucleotides and tetraloops

    Bind3P: Optimization of a Water Model with Host-Guest Binding Data

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    We report a water model, Bind3P (Version 0.1), which was obtained by using sensitivity analysis to readjust the Lennard-Jones parameters of the TIP3P model against experimental binding free energies for six host-guest systems, along with pure liquid properties. Tests of Bind3P against >100 experimental binding free energies and enthalpies for host-guest systems distinct from the training set show a consistent drop in the mean signed error, relative to matched calculations with TIP3P. Importantly, Bind3P also yields some improvement in the hydration free energies of small organic molecules, and preserves the accuracy of bulk water properties, such as density and the heat of vaporization. The same approach can be applied to more sophisticated water models that can better represent pure water properties. These results lend further support to concept of integrating host-guest binding data into force field parameterization

    Bind3P: Optimization of a Water Model Based on Host–Guest Binding Data

    No full text
    We report a water model, Bind3P (Version 0.1), which was obtained by using sensitivity analysis to readjust the Lennard-Jones parameters of the TIP3P model against experimental binding free energies for six host–guest systems, along with pure liquid properties. Tests of Bind3P against >100 experimental binding free energies and enthalpies for host–guest systems distinct from the training set show a consistent drop in the mean signed error, relative to matched calculations with TIP3P. Importantly, Bind3P also yields some improvement in the hydration free energies of small organic molecules and preserves the accuracy of bulk water properties, such as density and the heat of vaporization. The same approach can be applied to more sophisticated water models that can better represent pure water properties. These results lend further support to the concept of integrating host–guest binding data into force field parametrization

    Bind3P: Optimization of a Water Model Based on Host–Guest Binding Data

    No full text
    We report a water model, Bind3P (Version 0.1), which was obtained by using sensitivity analysis to readjust the Lennard-Jones parameters of the TIP3P model against experimental binding free energies for six host–guest systems, along with pure liquid properties. Tests of Bind3P against >100 experimental binding free energies and enthalpies for host–guest systems distinct from the training set show a consistent drop in the mean signed error, relative to matched calculations with TIP3P. Importantly, Bind3P also yields some improvement in the hydration free energies of small organic molecules and preserves the accuracy of bulk water properties, such as density and the heat of vaporization. The same approach can be applied to more sophisticated water models that can better represent pure water properties. These results lend further support to the concept of integrating host–guest binding data into force field parametrization

    Structural and Energetic Analysis of 2‑Aminobenzimidazole Inhibitors in Complex with the Hepatitis C Virus IRES RNA Using Molecular Dynamics Simulations

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    Despite the many biological functions of RNA, very few drugs have been designed or found to target RNA. Here we report the results of molecular dynamics (MD) simulations and binding energy analyses on hepatitis C virus internal ribosome entry site (IRES) RNA in complex with highly charged 2-aminobenzimidazole inhibitors. Initial coordinates were taken from NMR and crystallography studies that had yielded different binding modes. During MD simulations, the RNA–inhibitor complex is stable in the crystal conformation but not in the NMR conformation. Additionally, we found that existing and standard MD trajectory postprocessing free energy methods, such as the MM-GBSA and MM-PBSA approaches available in AMBER, seem unsuitable to properly rank the binding energies of complexes between highly charged molecules. A better correlation with the experimental data was found using a rather simple binding enthalpy calculation based on the explicitly solvated potential energies. In anticipation of further growth in the use of small molecules to target RNA, we include results addressing the impact of charge assignment on docking, the structural role of magnesium in the IRES–inhibitor complex, the entropic contribution to binding energy, and simulations of a plausible scaffold design for new inhibitors

    Bridging Calorimetry and Simulation through Precise Calculations of Cucurbituril–Guest Binding Enthalpies

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    We used microsecond time scale molecular dynamics simulations to compute, at high precision, binding enthalpies for cucurbit[7]­uril (CB7) with eight guests in aqueous solution. The results correlate well with experimental data from previously published isothermal titration calorimetry studies, and decomposition of the computed binding enthalpies by interaction type provides plausible mechanistic insights. Thus, dispersion interactions appear to play a key role in stabilizing these complexes, due at least in part to the fact that their packing density is greater than that of water. On the other hand, strongly favorable Coulombic interactions between the host and guests are compensated by unfavorable solvent contributions, leaving relatively modest electrostatic contributions to the binding enthalpies. The better steric fit of the aliphatic guests into the circular host appears to explain why their binding enthalpies tend to be more favorable than those of the more planar aromatic guests. The present calculations also bear on the validity of the simulation force field. Somewhat unexpectedly, the TIP3P water yields better agreement with experiment than the TIP4P-Ew water model, although the latter is known to replicate the properties of pure water more accurately. More broadly, the present results demonstrate the potential for computational calorimetry to provide atomistic explanations for thermodynamic observations

    Binding Enthalpy Calculations for a Neutral Host–Guest Pair Yield Widely Divergent Salt Effects across Water Models

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    Dissolved salts are a part of the physiological milieu and can significantly influence the kinetics and thermodynamics of various biomolecular processes, such as binding and catalysis; thus, it is important for molecular simulations to reliably describe their effects. The present study uses a simple, nonionized host–guest model system to study the sensitivity of computed binding enthalpies to the choice of water and salt models. Molecular dynamics simulations of a cucurbit[7]­uril host with a neutral guest molecule show striking differences in the salt dependency of the binding enthalpy across four water models, TIP3P, SPC/E, TIP4P-Ew, and OPC, with additional sensitivity to the choice of parameters for sodium and chloride. In particular, although all of the models predict that binding will be less exothermic with increasing NaCl concentration, the strength of this effect varies by 7 kcal/mol across models. The differences appear to result primarily from differences in the number of sodium ions displaced from the host upon binding the guest rather than from differences in the enthalpy associated with this displacement, and it is the electrostatic energy that contributes most to the changes in enthalpy with increasing salt concentration. That a high sensitivity of salt affecting the choice of water model, as observed for the present host–guest system despite it being nonionized, raises issues regarding the selection and adjustment of water models for use with biological macromolecules, especially as these typically possess multiple ionized groups that can interact relatively strongly with ions in solution
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