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Lessons learned about steered molecular dynamics simulations and free energy calculations



Lessons learned about steered molecular dynamics simulations and free energy calculations



Chemical Biology and Drug Design 93(6): 1129-1138



The calculation of free energy profiles is central in understanding differential enzymatic activity, for instance, involving chemical reactions that require QM-MM tools, ligand migration, and conformational rearrangements that can be modeled using classical potentials. The use of steered molecular dynamics (sMD) together with the Jarzynski equality is a popular approach in calculating free energy profiles. Here, we first briefly review the application of the Jarzynski equality to sMD simulations, then revisit the so-called stiff-spring approximation and the consequent expectation of Gaussian work distributions and, finally, reiterate the practical utility of the second-order cumulant expansion, as it coincides with the parametric maximum-likelihood estimator in this scenario. We illustrate this procedure using simulations of CO, both in aqueous solution and in a carbon nanotube as a model system for biologically relevant nanoheterogeneous environments. We conclude the use of the second-order cumulant expansion permits the use of faster pulling velocities in sMD simulations, without introducing bias due to large dispersion in the non-equilibrium work distribution.

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Accession: 066521496

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 30793836

DOI: 10.1111/cbdd.13485


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