Binding enthalpy calculations for a neutral host-guest pair yield widely divergent salt effects across water models.
ABSTRACT: 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 cucurbituril 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.
Project description:Molecular recognition is of paramount interest in many applications. Here we investigate a series of host-guest systems previously used in the SAMPL4 blind challenge by using molecular simulations and the AMOEBA polarizable force field. The free energy results computed by Bennett's acceptance ratio (BAR) method using the AMOEBA polarizable force field ranked favorably among the entries submitted to the SAMPL4 host-guest competition [Muddana, et al., J. Comput.-Aided Mol. Des., 2014, 28, 305-317]. In this work we conduct an in-depth analysis of the AMOEBA force field host-guest binding thermodynamics by using both BAR and the orthogonal space random walk (OSRW) methods. The binding entropy-enthalpy contributions are analyzed for each host-guest system. For systems of inordinate binding entropy-enthalpy values, we further examine the hydrogen bonding patterns and configurational entropy contribution. The binding mechanism of this series of host-guest systems varies from ligand to ligand, driven by enthalpy and/or entropy changes. Convergence of BAR and OSRW binding free energy methods is discussed. Ultimately, this work illustrates the value of molecular modelling and advanced force fields for the exploration and interpretation of binding thermodynamics.
Project description:The absolute binding free energies and binding enthalpies of twelve host-guest systems in the SAMPL5 blind challenge were computed using our attach-pull-release (APR) approach. This method has previously shown good correlations between experimental and calculated binding data in retrospective studies of cucurbituril (CB7) and ?-cyclodextrin (?CD) systems. In the present work, the computed binding free energies for host octa acid (OA or OAH) and tetra-endo-methyl octa-acid (TEMOA or OAMe) with guests are in good agreement with prospective experimental data, with a coefficient of determination (R2) of 0.8 and root-mean-squared error of 1.7 kcal/mol using the TIP3P water model. The binding enthalpy calculations achieve moderate correlations, with R2 of 0.5 and RMSE of 2.5 kcal/mol, for TIP3P water. Calculations using the newly developed OPC water model also show good performance. Furthermore, the present calculations semi-quantitatively capture the experimental trend of enthalpy-entropy compensation observed, and successfully predict guests with the strongest and weakest binding affinity. The most populated binding poses of all twelve systems, based on clustering analysis of 750 ns molecular dynamics (MD) trajectories, were extracted and analyzed. Computational methods using MD simulations and explicit solvent models in a rigorous statistical thermodynamic framework, like APR, can generate reasonable predictions of binding thermodynamics. Especially with continuing improvement in simulation force fields, such methods hold the promise of making substantial contributions to hit identification and lead optimization in the drug discovery process.
Project description:Understanding the fine balance between changes of entropy and enthalpy and the competition between a guest and water molecules in molecular binding is crucial in fundamental studies and practical applications. Experiments provide measurements. However, illustrating the binding/unbinding processes gives a complete picture of molecular recognition not directly available from experiments, and computational methods bridge the gaps. Here, we investigated guest association/dissociation with ?-cyclodextrin (?-CD) by using microsecond-time-scale molecular dynamics (MD) simulations, postanalysis and numerical calculations. We computed association and dissociation rate constants, enthalpy, and solvent and solute entropy of binding. All the computed values of kon, koff, ?H, ?S, and ?G using GAFF-CD and q4MD-CD force fields for ?-CD could be compared with experimental data directly and agreed reasonably with experiment findings. In addition, our study further interprets experiments. Both force fields resulted in similar computed ?G from independently computed kinetics rates, ?G = -RT?ln(kon·C0/koff), and thermodynamics properties, ?G = ?H - T?S. The water entropy calculations show that the entropy gain of desolvating water molecules are a major driving force, and both force fields have the same strength of nonpolar attractions between solutes and ?-CD as well. Water molecules play a crucial role in guest binding to ?-CD. However, collective water/?-CD motions could contribute to different computed kon and ?H values by different force fields, mainly because the parameters of ?-CD provide different motions of ?-CD, hydrogen-bond networks of water molecules in the cavity of free ?-CD, and strength of desolvation penalty. As a result, q4MD-CD suggests that guest binding is mostly driven by enthalpy, while GAFF-CD shows that gaining entropy is the major driving force of binding. The study deepens our understanding of ligand-receptor recognition and suggests strategies for force field parametrization for accurately modeling molecular systems.
Project description:Improving the capability of atomistic computer models to predict the thermodynamics of noncovalent binding is critical for successful structure-based drug design, and the accuracy of such calculations remains limited by nonoptimal force field parameters. Ideally, one would incorporate protein-ligand affinity data into force field parametrization, but this would be inefficient and costly. We now demonstrate that sensitivity analysis can be used to efficiently tune Lennard-Jones parameters of aqueous host-guest systems for increasingly accurate calculations of binding enthalpy. These results highlight the promise of a comprehensive use of calorimetric host-guest binding data, along with existing validation data sets, to improve force field parameters for the simulation of noncovalent binding, with the ultimate goal of making protein-ligand modeling more accurate and hence speeding drug discovery.
Project description:The cavity of an M8 L12 cubic coordination cage can accommodate a cluster of ten water molecules in which the average number of hydrogen bonds per water molecule is 0.5?H-bonds less than it would be in the bulk solution. The presence of these "hydrogen-bond frustrated" or "high-energy" water molecules in the cavity results in the hydrophobic effect associated with guest binding being predominantly enthalpy-based, as these water molecules can improve their hydrogen-bonding environment on release. This contrasts with the classical form of the hydrophobic effect in which the favourable entropy change associated with release of ordered molecules from hydrophobic surfaces dominates. For several guests Van't Hoff plots showed that the free energy of binding in water is primarily enthalpy driven. For five homologous pairs of guests related by the presence or absence of a CH2 group, the incremental changes to ?H and T?S for guest binding-that is, ??H and T??S, the difference in contributions arising from the CH2 group-are consistently 5(±1)?kJ?mol-1 for ??H and 0(±1)?kJ?mol-1 for T??S. This systematic dominance of ?H in the binding of hydrophobic guests is consistent with the view that guest binding is dominated by release of "high energy" water molecules into a more favourable solvation environment, as has been demonstrated recently for some members of the cucurbituril family.
Project description:Computational prediction of noncovalent binding free energies with methods based on molecular mechanical force fields has become increasingly routine in drug discovery projects, where they promise to speed the discovery of small molecule ligands to bind targeted proteins with high affinity. Because the reliability of free energy methods still has significant room for improvement, new force fields, or modifications of existing ones, are regularly introduced with the aim of improving the accuracy of molecular simulations. However, comparatively little work has been done to systematically assess how well force fields perform, particularly in relation to the calculation of binding affinities. Hardware advances have made these calculations feasible, but comprehensive force field assessments for protein-ligand sized systems still remain costly. Here, we turn to cyclodextrin host-guest systems, which feature many hallmarks of protein-ligand binding interactions but are generally much more tractable due to their small size. We present absolute binding free energy and enthalpy calculations, using the attach-pull-release (APR) approach, on a set of 43 cyclodextrin-guest pairs for which experimental ITC data are available. The test set comprises both ?- and ?-cyclodextrin hosts binding a series of small organic guests, each with one of three functional groups: ammonium, alcohol, or carboxylate. Four water models are considered (TIP3P, TIP4Pew, SPC/E, and OPC), along with two partial charge assignment procedures (RESP and AM1-BCC) and two cyclodextrin host force fields. The results suggest a complex set of considerations when choosing a force field for biomolecular simulations. For example, some force field combinations clearly outperform others at the binding enthalpy calculations but not for the binding free energy. Additionally, a force field combination which we expected to be the worst performer gave the most accurate binding free energies - but the least accurate binding enthalpies. The results have implications for the development of improved force fields, and we propose this test set, and potential future elaborations of it, as a powerful validation suite to evaluate new force fields and help guide future force field development.
Project description: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.
Project description:Cobalt(iii) tetrahedral capsules have been prepared using an assembly-followed-by-oxidation protocol from a cobalt(ii) precursor and a readily derivatizable pyridyl-triazole ligand system. Experiments designed to probe the constitutional dynamics show that these architectures are in a non-equilibrium state. A preliminary investigation into the host-guest chemistry of a water-soluble derivative shows it can bind and differentiate a range of different neutral organic molecules. The stability of this ensemble also permits the study of guest-binding at high salt concentrations.
Project description:Given their relevance to drug design and chemical sensing, host-guest interactions are of broad interest in molecular science. Natural and synthetic host molecules provide vehicles for understanding selective molecular recognition in aqueous solution. Here, cryptophane-Xe host-guest systems are considered in aqueous media as a model molecular system that also has important applications. 129Xe-cryptophane systems can be used in the creation of biosensors and powerful contrast agents for magnetic resonance imaging applications. Detailed molecular information on the determinants of Xe affinity is difficult to obtain experimentally. Thus, molecular simulation and free energy perturbation methods were applied to estimate the affinities of Xe for six water-soluble cryptophanes. The calculated affinities correlated well with the previously measured experimental values. The simulations provided molecular insight on the differences in affinities and the roles of conformational fluctuations, solvent, and counter ions on Xe binding to these host molecules. Displacement of confined water from the host interior cavity is a key component of the binding equilibrium, and the average number of water molecules within the host cavity is correlated with the free energy of Xe binding to the different cryptophanes. The findings highlight roles for molecular simulation and design in modulating the relative strengths of host-guest and host-solvent interactions.
Project description:Prospective validation of methods for computing binding affinities can help assess their predictive power and thus set reasonable expectations for their performance in drug design applications. Supramolecular host-guest systems are excellent model systems for testing such affinity prediction methods, because their small size and limited conformational flexibility, relative to proteins, allows higher throughput and better numerical convergence. The SAMPL4 prediction challenge therefore included a series of host-guest systems, based on two hosts, cucurbituril and octa-acid. Binding affinities in aqueous solution were measured experimentally for a total of 23 guest molecules. Participants submitted 35 sets of computational predictions for these host-guest systems, based on methods ranging from simple docking, to extensive free energy simulations, to quantum mechanical calculations. Over half of the predictions provided better correlations with experiment than two simple null models, but most methods underperformed the null models in terms of root mean squared error and linear regression slope. Interestingly, the overall performance across all SAMPL4 submissions was similar to that for the prior SAMPL3 host-guest challenge, although the experimentalists took steps to simplify the current challenge. While some methods performed fairly consistently across both hosts, no single approach emerged as consistent top performer, and the nonsystematic nature of the various submissions made it impossible to draw definitive conclusions regarding the best choices of energy models or sampling algorithms. Salt effects emerged as an issue in the calculation of absolute binding affinities of cucurbituril-guest systems, but were not expected to affect the relative affinities significantly. Useful directions for future rounds of the challenge might involve encouraging participants to carry out some calculations that replicate each others' studies, and to systematically explore parameter options.