Between algorithm and model: different Molecular Surface definitions for the Poisson-Boltzmann based electrostatic characterization of biomolecules in solution.
ABSTRACT: The definition of a molecular surface which is physically sound and computationally efficient is a very interesting and long standing problem in the implicit solvent continuum modeling of biomolecular systems as well as in the molecular graphics field. In this work, two molecular surfaces are evaluated with respect to their suitability for electrostatic computation as alternatives to the widely used Connolly-Richards surface: the blobby surface, an implicit Gaussian atom centered surface, and the skin surface. As figures of merit, we considered surface differentiability and surface area continuity with respect to atom positions, and the agreement with explicit solvent simulations. Geometric analysis seems to privilege the skin to the blobby surface, and points to an unexpected relationship between the non connectedness of the surface, caused by interstices in the solute volume, and the surface area dependence on atomic centers. In order to assess the ability to reproduce explicit solvent results, specific software tools have been developed to enable the use of the skin surface in Poisson-Boltzmann calculations with the DelPhi solver. Results indicate that the skin and Connolly surfaces have a comparable performance from this last point of view.
Project description:Implicit solvation is a mean force approach to model solvent forces acting on a solute molecule. It is frequently used in molecular simulations to reduce the computational cost of solvent treatment. In the first instance, the free energy of solvation and the associated solvent-solute forces can be approximated by a function of the solvent-accessible surface area (SASA) of the solute and differentiated by an atom-specific solvation parameter ?(i) (SASA). A procedure for the determination of values for the ?(i) (SASA) parameters through matching of explicit and implicit solvation forces is proposed. Using the results of Molecular Dynamics simulations of 188 topologically diverse protein structures in water and in implicit solvent, values for the ?(i) (SASA) parameters for atom types i of the standard amino acids in the GROMOS force field have been determined. A simplified representation based on groups of atom types ?(g) (SASA) was obtained via partitioning of the atom-type ?(i) (SASA) distributions by dynamic programming. Three groups of atom types with well separated parameter ranges were obtained, and their performance in implicit versus explicit simulations was assessed. The solvent forces are available at http://mathbio.nimr.mrc.ac.uk/wiki/Solvent_Forces.
Project description:The solvent reaction field potential of an uncharged protein immersed in simple point charge/extended explicit solvent was computed over a series of molecular dynamics trajectories, in total 1560 ns of simulation time. A finite, positive potential of 13-24 kbTec(-1) (where T=300 K), dependent on the geometry of the solvent-accessible surface, was observed inside the biomolecule. The primary contribution to this potential arose from a layer of positive charge density 1.0 A from the solute surface, on average 0.008 ec/A3, which we found to be the product of a highly ordered first solvation shell. Significant second solvation shell effects, including additional layers of charge density and a slight decrease in the short-range solvent-solvent interaction strength, were also observed. The impact of these findings on implicit solvent models was assessed by running similar explicit solvent simulations on the fully charged protein system. When the energy due to the solvent reaction field in the uncharged system is accounted for, correlation between per-atom electrostatic energies for the explicit solvent model and a simple implicit (Poisson) calculation is 0.97, and correlation between per-atom energies for the explicit solvent model and a previously published, optimized Poisson model is 0.99.
Project description:The implementation of molecular dynamics (MD) with our physics-based protein united-residue (UNRES) force field, described in the accompanying paper, was extended to Langevin dynamics. The equations of motion are integrated by using a simplified stochastic velocity Verlet algorithm. To compare the results to those with all-atom simulations with implicit solvent in which no explicit stochastic and friction forces are present, we alternatively introduced the Berendsen thermostat. Test simulations on the Ala(10) polypeptide demonstrated that the average kinetic energy is stable with about a 5 fs time step. To determine the correspondence between the UNRES time step and the time step of all-atom molecular dynamics, all-atom simulations with the AMBER 99 force field and explicit solvent and also with implicit solvent taken into account within the framework of the generalized Born/surface area (GBSA) model were carried out on the unblocked Ala(10) polypeptide. We found that the UNRES time scale is 4 times longer than that of all-atom MD simulations because the degrees of freedom corresponding to the fastest motions in UNRES are averaged out. When the reduction of the computational cost for evaluation of the UNRES energy function is also taken into account, UNRES (with hydration included implicitly in the side chain-side chain interaction potential) offers about at least a 4000-fold speed up of computations relative to all-atom simulations with explicit solvent and at least a 65-fold speed up relative to all-atom simulations with implicit solvent. To carry out an initial full-blown test of the UNRES/MD approach, we ran Berendsen-bath and Langevin dynamics simulations of the 46-residue B-domain of staphylococcal protein A. We were able to determine the folding temperature at which all trajectories converged to nativelike structures with both approaches. For comparison, we carried out ab initio folding simulations of this protein at the AMBER 99/GBSA level. The average CPU time for folding protein A by UNRES molecular dynamics was 30 min with a single Alpha processor, compared to about 152 h for all-atom simulations with implicit solvent. It can be concluded that the UNRES/MD approach will enable us to carry out microsecond and, possibly, millisecond simulations of protein folding and, consequently, of the folding process of proteins in real time.
Project description:The folding free energy landscape of the C-terminal beta-hairpin of protein G is explored using the surface-generalized Born (SGB) implicit solvent model, and the results are compared with the landscape from an earlier study with explicit solvent model. The OPLSAA force field is used for the beta-hairpin in both implicit and explicit solvent simulations, and the conformational space sampling is carried out with a highly parallel replica-exchange method. Surprisingly, we find from exhaustive conformation space sampling that the free energy landscape from the implicit solvent model is quite different from that of the explicit solvent model. In the implicit solvent model some nonnative states are heavily overweighted, and more importantly, the lowest free energy state is no longer the native beta-strand structure. An overly strong salt-bridge effect between charged residues (E42, D46, D47, E56, and K50) is found to be responsible for this behavior in the implicit solvent model. Despite this, we find that the OPLSAA/SGB energies of all the nonnative structures are higher than that of the native structure; thus the OPLSAA/SGB energy is still a good scoring function for structure prediction for this beta-hairpin. Furthermore, the beta-hairpin population at 282 K is found to be less than 40% from the implicit solvent model, which is much smaller than the 72% from the explicit solvent model and approximately equal 80% from experiment. On the other hand, both implicit and explicit solvent simulations with the OPLSAA force field exhibit no meaningful helical content during the folding process, which is in contrast to some very recent studies using other force fields.
Project description:Implicit solvent models are powerful tools in accounting for the aqueous environment at a fraction of the computational expense of explicit solvent representations. Here, we compare the ability of common implicit solvent models (TC, OBC, OBC2, GBMV, GBMV2, GBSW, GBSW/MS, GBSW/MS2 and FACTS) to reproduce experimental absolute hydration free energies for a series of 499 small neutral molecules that are modeled using AMBER/GAFF parameters and AM1-BCC charges. Given optimized surface tension coefficients for scaling the surface area term in the nonpolar contribution, most implicit solvent models demonstrate reasonable agreement with extensive explicit solvent simulations (average difference 1.0-1.7 kcal/mol and R(2)=0.81-0.91) and with experimental hydration free energies (average unsigned errors=1.1-1.4 kcal/mol and R(2)=0.66-0.81). Chemical classes of compounds are identified that need further optimization of their ligand force field parameters and others that require improvement in the physical parameters of the implicit solvent models themselves. More sophisticated nonpolar models are also likely necessary to more effectively represent the underlying physics of solvation and take the quality of hydration free energies estimated from implicit solvent models to the next level.
Project description:Continuum solvation models provide appealing alternatives to explicit solvent methods because of their ability to reproduce solvation effects while alleviating the need for expensive sampling. Our previous work has demonstrated that Poisson-Boltzmann methods are capable of faithfully reproducing polar explicit solvent forces for dilute protein systems; however, the popular solvent-accessible surface area model was shown to be incapable of accurately describing nonpolar solvation forces at atomic-length scales. Therefore, alternate continuum methods are needed to reproduce nonpolar interactions at the atomic scale. In the present work, we address this issue by supplementing the solvent-accessible surface area model with additional volume and dispersion integral terms suggested by scaled particle models and Weeks-Chandler-Andersen theory, respectively. This more complete nonpolar implicit solvent model shows very good agreement with explicit solvent results and suggests that, although often overlooked, the inclusion of appropriate dispersion and volume terms are essential for an accurate implicit solvent description of atomic-scale nonpolar forces.
Project description:Macromolecules based on dendritic or hyperbranched polyelectrolytes have been emerging as high potential candidates for biomedical applications. Here we study the charge and solvation structure of dendritic polyglycerol sulphate (dPGS) of generations 0 to 3 in aqueous sodium chloride solution by explicit-solvent molecular dynamics computer simulations. We characterize dPGS by calculating several important properties such as relevant dPGS radii, molecular distributions, the solvent accessible surface area, and the partial molecular volume. In particular, as the dPGS exhibits high charge renormalization effects, we address the challenges of how to obtain a well-defined effective charge and surface potential of dPGS for practical applications. We compare implicit- and explicit-solvent approaches in our all-atom simulations with the coarse-grained simulations from our previous work. We find consistent values for the effective electrostatic size (i.e., the location of the effective charge of a Debye-Hückel sphere) within all the approaches, deviating at most by the size of a water molecule. Finally, the excess chemical potential of water insertion into dPGS and its thermodynamic signature are presented and rationalized.
Project description:Accurate electrostatic descriptions of aqueous solvent are critical for simulation studies of bio-molecules, but the computational cost of explicit treatment of solvent is very high. A computationally more feasible alternative is a generalized Born implicit solvent description which models polar solvent as a dielectric continuum. Unfortunately, the attainable simulation speedup does not transfer to the massive parallel computers often employed for simulation of large structures. Longer cutoff distances, spatially heterogenous distribution of atoms and the necessary three-fold iteration over atom-pairs in each timestep combine to challenge efficient parallel performance of generalized Born implicit solvent algorithms. Here we report how NAMD, a parallel molecular dynamics program, meets the challenge through a unique parallelization strategy. NAMD now permits efficient simulation of large systems whose slow conformational motions benefit most from implicit solvent descriptions due to the inherent low viscosity. NAMD's implicit solvent performance is benchmarked and then illustrated in simulating the ratcheting Escherichia coli ribosome involving ~250,000 atoms.
Project description:We present a general, robust, and efficient ray-casting-based approach to triangulating complex manifold surfaces arising in the nano-bioscience field. This feature is inserted in a more extended framework that: i) builds the molecular surface of nanometric systems according to several existing definitions, ii) can import external meshes, iii) performs accurate surface area estimation, iv) performs volume estimation, cavity detection, and conditional volume filling, and v) can color the points of a grid according to their locations with respect to the given surface. We implemented our methods in the publicly available NanoShaper software suite (www.electrostaticszone.eu). Robustness is achieved using the CGAL library and an ad hoc ray-casting technique. Our approach can deal with any manifold surface (including nonmolecular ones). Those explicitly treated here are the Connolly-Richards (SES), the Skin, and the Gaussian surfaces. Test results indicate that it is robust to rotation, scale, and atom displacement. This last aspect is evidenced by cavity detection of the highly symmetric structure of fullerene, which fails when attempted by MSMS and has problems in EDTSurf. In terms of timings, NanoShaper builds the Skin surface three times faster than the single threaded version in Lindow et al. on a 100,000 atoms protein and triangulates it at least ten times more rapidly than the Kruithof algorithm. NanoShaper was integrated with the DelPhi Poisson-Boltzmann equation solver. Its SES grid coloring outperformed the DelPhi counterpart. To test the viability of our method on large systems, we chose one of the biggest molecular structures in the Protein Data Bank, namely the 1VSZ entry, which corresponds to the human adenovirus (180,000 atoms after Hydrogen addition). We were able to triangulate the corresponding SES and Skin surfaces (6.2 and 7.0 million triangles, respectively, at a scale of 2 grids per Å) on a middle-range workstation.
Project description:This paper presents a differential geometry based model for the analysis and computation of the equilibrium property of solvation. Differential geometry theory of surfaces is utilized to define and construct smooth interfaces with good stability and differentiability for use in characterizing the solvent-solute boundaries and in generating continuous dielectric functions across the computational domain. A total free energy functional is constructed to couple polar and nonpolar contributions to the salvation process. Geometric measure theory is employed to rigorously convert a Lagrangian formulation of the surface energy into an Eulerian formulation so as to bring all energy terms into an equal footing. By minimizing the total free energy functional, we derive coupled generalized Poisson-Boltzmann equation (GPBE) and generalized geometric flow equation (GGFE) for the electrostatic potential and the construction of realistic solvent-solute boundaries, respectively. By solving the coupled GPBE and GGFE, we obtain the electrostatic potential, the solvent-solute boundary profile, and the smooth dielectric function, and thereby improve the accuracy and stability of implicit solvation calculations. We also design efficient second order numerical schemes for the solution of the GPBE and GGFE. Matrix resulted from the discretization of the GPBE is accelerated with appropriate preconditioners. An alternative direct implicit (ADI) scheme is designed to improve the stability of solving the GGFE. Two iterative approaches are designed to solve the coupled system of nonlinear partial differential equations. Extensive numerical experiments are designed to validate the present theoretical model, test computational methods, and optimize numerical algorithms. Example solvation analysis of both small compounds and proteins are carried out to further demonstrate the accuracy, stability, efficiency and robustness of the present new model and numerical approaches. Comparison is given to both experimental and theoretical results in the literature.