Obtaining Protein Energetics Using Adaptive Steered Molecular Dynamics

Mathematical Biology and Ecology Seminar
Wednesday, February 19, 2014 - 11:00
1 hour (actually 50 minutes)
Skiles 005
GT Chem & Biochem
 The behavior and function of proteins necessarily occurs during nonequilibrium conditions such as when a protein unfolds or binds. The need to treat both the dynamics and the high-dimensionality of proteins and their environments presents significant challenges to theoretical or computational methods. The present work attempts to reign in this complexity by way of capturing the dominant energetic pathway in a particular protein motion. In particular, the energetics of an unfolding event can be formally obtained using steered molecular dynamics (SMD) and Jarzynski’s inequality but the cost of the calculation increases dramatically with the length of the pathway. An adaptive algorithm has been introduced that allows for this pathway to be nonlinear and staged while reducing the computational cost. The potential of mean force (PMF) obtained for neuropeptide Y (NPY) in water along an unfolding path confirmed that the monomeric form of NPY adopts the pancreatic-polypeptide (PP) fold. [J. Chem. Theory Comput. 6, 3026-3038 (2010); 10.1021/ct100320g.] Adaptive SMD can also be used to reconstruct the PMF obtained earlier for stretching decaalanine in vacuum at lower computational cost. [J. Chem. Phys. 136, 215104 (2012); 10.1063/1.4725183.] The PMF for stretching decaalanine in water solvent (using the TIP3P water potential) at 300K has now been obtained using adaptive SMD. [J. Chem. Theory Comput. 8, 4837 (2012); 10.1021/ct300709u] Not surprisingly, the stabilization from the water solvent reduces the overall work required to unfold it.  However, the PMF remains structured suggesting that some regions of the energy landscape act partially as doorways. This is also further verified through a study of the hydrogen-bond breaking and formation along the stretching paths of decaalanine in vacuum and solvent. (Rescheduled from Feb 12th.)