An efficient protocol for obtaining accurate hydration free energies using quantum chemistry and reweighting from molecular dynamics simulations.
ABSTRACT: The non-Boltzmann Bennett (NBB) free energy estimator method is applied to 21 molecules from the blind subset of the SAMPL4 challenge. When NBB is applied with the SMD implicit solvent model, and the OLYP/DZP level of quantum chemistry, highly accurate hydration free energy calculations are obtained with respect to experiment (RMSD=0.89kcal·mol-1). Other quantum chemical methods are also tested, and the effects of solvent model, density functional, basis set are explored in this benchmarking study, providing a framework for improvements in calculating hydration free energies. We provide a practical guide for using the best QM-NBB protocols that are consistently more accurate than either pure QM or pure MM alone. In situations where high accuracy hydration free energy predictions are needed, the QM-NBB method with SMD implicit solvent should be the first choice of quantum chemists.
Project description:The correct representation of solute-water interactions is essential for the accurate simulation of most biological phenomena. Several highly accurate quantum methods are available to deal with solvation by using both implicit and explicit solvents. So far, however, most evaluations of those methods were based on a single conformation, which neglects solute entropy. Here, we present the first test of a novel approach to determine hydration free energies that uses molecular mechanics (MM) to sample phase space and quantum mechanics (QM) to evaluate the potential energies. Free energies are determined by using re-weighting with the Non-Boltzmann Bennett (NBB) method. In this context, the method is referred to as QM-NBB. Based on snapshots from MM sampling and accounting for their correct Boltzmann weight, it is possible to obtain hydration free energies that incorporate the effect of solute entropy. We evaluate the performance of several QM implicit solvent models, as well as explicit solvent QM/MM for the blind subset of the SAMPL4 hydration free energy challenge. While classical free energy simulations with molecular dynamics give root mean square deviations (RMSD) of 2.8 and 2.3 kcal/mol, the hybrid approach yields an improved RMSD of 1.6 kcal/mol. By selecting an appropriate functional and basis set, the RMSD can be reduced to 1 kcal/mol for calculations based on a single conformation. Results for a selected set of challenging molecules imply that this RMSD can be further reduced by using NBB to reweight MM trajectories with the SMD implicit solvent model.
Project description:A recently developed MESS-E-QM/MM method (multiple-environment single-system quantum mechanical molecular/mechanical calculations with a Roothaan-step extrapolation) is applied to the computation of hydration free energies for the blind SAMPL4 test set and for 12 small molecules. First, free energy simulations are performed with a classical molecular mechanics force field using fixed-geometry solute molecules and explicit TIP3P solvent, and then the non-Boltzmann-Bennett method is employed to compute the QM/MM correction (QM/MM-NBB) to the molecular mechanical hydration free energies. For the SAMPL4 set, MESS-E-QM/MM-NBB corrections to the hydration free energy can be obtained 2 or 3 orders of magnitude faster than fully converged QM/MM-NBB corrections, and, on average, the hydration free energies predicted with MESS-E-QM/MM-NBB fall within 0.10-0.20 kcal/mol of full-converged QM/MM-NBB results. Out of five density functionals (BLYP, B3LYP, PBE0, M06-2X, and ?B97X-D), the BLYP functional is found to be most compatible with the TIP3P solvent model and yields the most accurate hydration free energies against experimental values for solute molecules included in this study.
Project description:THE RELIABILITY OF FREE ENERGY SIMULATIONS (FES) IS LIMITED BY TWO FACTORS: (a) the need for correct sampling and (b) the accuracy of the computational method employed. Classical methods (e.g., force fields) are typically used for FES and present a myriad of challenges, with parametrization being a principle one. On the other hand, parameter-free quantum mechanical (QM) methods tend to be too computationally expensive for adequate sampling. One widely used approach is a combination of methods, where the free energy difference between the two end states is computed by, e.g., molecular mechanics (MM), and the end states are corrected by more accurate methods, such as QM or hybrid QM/MM techniques. Here we report two new approaches that significantly improve the aforementioned scheme; with a focus on how to compute corrections between, e.g., the MM and the more accurate QM calculations. First, a molecular dynamics trajectory that properly samples relevant conformational degrees of freedom is generated. Next, potential energies of each trajectory frame are generated with a QM or QM/MM Hamiltonian. Free energy differences are then calculated based on the QM or QM/MM energies using either a non-Boltzmann Bennett approach (QM-NBB) or non-Boltzmann free energy perturbation (NB-FEP). Both approaches are applied to calculate relative and absolute solvation free energies in explicit and implicit solvent environments. Solvation free energy differences (relative and absolute) between ethane and methanol in explicit solvent are used as the initial test case for QM-NBB. Next, implicit solvent methods are employed in conjunction with both QM-NBB and NB-FEP to compute absolute solvation free energies for 21 compounds. These compounds range from small molecules such as ethane and methanol to fairly large, flexible solutes, such as triacetyl glycerol. Several technical aspects were investigated. Ultimately some best practices are suggested for improving methods that seek to connect MM to QM (or QM/MM) levels of theory in FES.
Project description:We examine methods to reweight classical molecular mechanics solvation calculations to more expensive QM/MM energy functions. We first consider the solvation free energy difference between ethane and methanol in a QM/MM Hamiltonian from configurations generated in a cheaper MM potential. The solute molecules in the QM/MM Hamiltonian are treated with B3LYP/6-31G*, and the solvent water molecules are treated classically. The free energy difference in the QM/MM Hamiltonian is estimated using Boltzmann reweighting with both the non-Boltzmann Bennett method (NBB) and the multistate Bennett acceptance ratio (MBAR), and the variance of each method is directly compared for an identical data set. For this system, MBAR-derived methods are found to produce smaller overall uncertainties than NBB-based methods. Additionally, we show that to reduce the variance in the overall free energy difference estimate in this system for a fixed amount of QM/MM calculations, the energy re-evaluations in the Boltzmann reweighting step should be concentrated on the physical MM states with the highest overlap to the QM/MM states, rather than allocated equally over all sampled MM states. We also show that reallocating the QM/MM re-evaluations can be used to diagnose poor overlap between the sampled and target state. The solvation free energies for molecules in the SAMPL4 solvation data set are also calculated in the QM/MM Hamiltonian with NBB and MBAR, and the variances are marginally smaller for MBAR. Overall, NBB and MBAR produce similar variances for systems with poor sampling efficiency, and MBAR provides smaller variances than NBB in systems with high sampling efficiency. Both NBB and MBAR converge to identical solvation free energy estimates in the QM/MM Hamiltonian, and the RMSD to experimental values for molecules in the SAMPL4 solvation data set decreases by approximately 28% when switching from the MM Hamiltonian to the QM/MM Hamiltonian.
Project description:The precise description of solute-water interactions is essential to understand the chemo-physical nature in hydration processes. Such a hydration thermodynamics for various solutes has been explored by means of explicit or implicit solvation methods. Using the Poisson-Boltzmann solvation model, the implicit models are well designed to reasonably predict the hydration free energies of polar solutes. The implicit model, however, is known to have shortcomings in estimating those for non-polar aromatic compounds. To investigate a cause of error, we employed a novel systematic framework of quantum-mechanical/molecular-mechanical (QM/MM) coupling protocol in explicit solvation manner, termed DFT-CES, based on the grid-based mean-field treatment. With the aid of DFT-CES, we delved into multiple energy parts, thereby comparing DFT-CES and PB models component-by-component. By applying the modified PB model to estimate the hydration free energies of non-polar solutes, we find a possibility to improve the predictability of PB models. We expect that this study could shed light on providing an accurate route to study the hydration thermodynamics for various solute compounds.
Project description:Implicit solvent models are increasingly popular for estimating aqueous solvation (hydration) free energies in molecular simulations and other applications. In many cases, parameters for these models are derived to reproduce experimental values for small molecule hydration free energies. Often, these hydration free energies are computed for a single solute conformation, neglecting solute conformational changes upon solvation. Here, we incorporate these effects using alchemical free energy methods. We find significant errors when hydration free energies are estimated using only a single solute conformation, even for relatively small, simple, rigid solutes. For example, we find conformational entropy (TDeltaS) changes of up to 2.3 kcal/mol upon hydration. Interestingly, these changes in conformational entropy correlate poorly (R2 = 0.03) with the number of rotatable bonds. The present study illustrates that implicit solvent modeling can be improved by eliminating the approximation that solutes are rigid.
Project description:In this article, we systematically apply a novel implicit-solvent model, the variational implicit-solvent model (VISM) together with the Coulomb-Field Approximation (CFA), to calculate the hydration free energy of a large set of small organic molecules. Because these molecules have been studied in detail by molecular dynamics simulations and other implicit-solvent models, they provide a good benchmark for evaluating the performance of VISM-CFA. With all-atom Amber force field parameters, VISM-CFA is able to reproduce well not only the experimental and MD simulated total hydration free energy but also the polar and nonpolar contributions individually. The correlation between VISM-CFA and experiments is R(2) = 0.763 for the total hydration free energy, with a root-mean-square deviation (RMSD) of 1.83 kcal/mol, and the correlation to results from TIP3P explicit water MD simulations is R(2) = 0.839 with a RMSD = 1.36 kcal/mol. In addition, we demonstrate that VISM captures dewetting phenomena in the p53/MDM2 complex and hydrophobic characteristics in the system. This work demonstrates that the level-set VISM-CFA can be used to study the energetic behavior of realistic molecular systems with complicated geometries in solvation, protein-ligand binding, protein-protein association, and protein folding processes.
Project description:An efficient and accurate reference potential simulation protocol is proposed for producing ab initio quantum mechanical/molecular mechanical (AI-QM/MM) quality free energy profiles for chemical reactions in a solvent or macromolecular environment. This protocol involves three stages: (a) using force matching to recalibrate a semi-empirical quantum mechanical (SE-QM) Hamiltonian for the specific reaction under study; (b) employing the recalibrated SE-QM Hamiltonian (in combination with molecular mechanical force fields) as the reference potential to drive umbrella samplings along the reaction pathway; and (c) computing AI-QM/MM energy values for collected configurations from the sampling and performing weighted thermodynamic perturbation to acquire an AI-QM/MM corrected reaction free energy profile. For three model reactions (identity SN2 reaction, Menshutkin reaction, and glycine proton transfer reaction) in aqueous solution and one enzyme reaction (Claisen arrangement in chorismate mutase), our simulations using recalibrated PM3 SE-QM Hamiltonians well reproduced QM/MM free energy profiles at the B3LYP/6-31G* level of theory all within 1 kcal mol-1 with a 20 to 45 fold reduction in the computer time.
Project description:Understanding the nature of the free-energy surfaces for phosphate hydrolysis is a prerequisite for understanding the corresponding key chemical reactions in biology. Here, the challenge has been to move to careful ab initio QM/MM (QM(ai)/MM) free-energy calculations, where obtaining converging results is very demanding and computationally expensive. This work describes such calculations, focusing on the free-energy surface for the hydrolysis of phosphate monoesters, paying special attention to the comparison between the one water (1W) and two water (2W) paths for the proton-transfer (PT) step. This issue has been explored before by energy minimization with implicit solvent models and by nonsystematic QM/MM energy minimization, as well as by nonsystematic free-energy mapping. However, no study has provided the needed reliable 2D (3D) surfaces that are necessary for reaching concrete conclusions. Here we report a systematic evaluation of the 2D (3D) free-energy maps for several relevant systems, comparing the results of QM(ai)/MM and QM(ai)/implicit solvent surfaces, and provide an advanced description of the relevant energetics. It is found that the 1W path for the hydrolysis of the methyl diphosphate (MDP) trianion is 6-9 kcal/mol higher than that the 2W path. This difference becomes slightly larger in the presence of the Mg(2+) ion because this ion reduces the pKa of the conjugated acid form of the phosphate oxygen that accepts the proton. Interestingly, the BLYP approach (which has been used extensively in some studies) gives a much smaller difference between the 1W and 2W activation barriers. At any rate, it is worth pointing out that the 2W transition state for the PT is not much higher that the common plateau that serves as the starting point of both the 1W and 2W PT paths. Thus, the calculated catalytic effects of proteins based on the 2W PT mechanistic model are not expected to be different from the catalytic effects predicted using the 1W PT mechanistic model, which was calibrated on the observed barrier in solution and in which the TS charge distribution was similar to the that of the plateau (as was done in all of our previous EVB studies).