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Journal Articles Journal of Chemical Physics Year : 2020

Hybrid MC/MD for protein design


Computational protein design relies on simulations of a protein structure, where selected amino acids can mutate randomly, and mutations are selected to enhance a target property, such as stability. Often, the protein backbone is held fixed and its degrees of freedom are modeled implicitly to reduce the complexity of the conformational space. We present a hybrid method where short molecular dynamics (MD) segments are used to explore conformations and alternate with Monte Carlo (MC) moves that apply mutations to side chains. The backbone is fully flexible during MD. As a test, we computed side chain acid/base constants or pKa’s in five proteins. This problem can be considered a special case of protein design, with protonation/deprotonation playing the role of mutations. The solvent was modeled as a dielectric continuum. Due to cost, in each protein we allowed just one side chain position to change its protonation state and the other position to change its type or mutate. The pKa’s were computed with a standard method that scans a range of pH values and with a new method that uses adaptive landscape flattening (ALF) to sample all protonation states in a single simulation. The hybrid method gave notably better accuracy than standard, fixed-backbone MC. ALF decreased the computational cost a factor of 13.
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Dates and versions

hal-03664020 , version 1 (10-05-2022)



Eleni Michael, Savvas Polydorides, Thomas Simonson, Georgios Archontis. Hybrid MC/MD for protein design. Journal of Chemical Physics, 2020, 153 (5), pp.054113. ⟨10.1063/5.0013320⟩. ⟨hal-03664020⟩
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