Variational Optimization of an All-Atom Implicit Solvent Force Field To Match Explicit Solvent Simulation Data
Journal of Chemical Theory and Computation
The development of accurate implicit solvation models with low computational cost is essential for addressing many large-scale biophysical problems. Here, we present an efficient solvation term based on a Gaussian solvent-exclusion model (EEF1) for simulations of proteins in aqueous environment, with the primary aim of having a good overlap with explicit solvent simulations, particularly for unfolded and disordered states -as would be needed for multiscale applications. In order to achieve
... we have used a recently proposed coarse-graining procedure based on minimization of an entropy-related objective function to train the model to reproduce the equilibrium distribution obtained from explicit water simulations. Via this methodology, we have optimized both a charge screening parameter and a backbone torsion term against explicit solvent simulations of an α-helical and a β-stranded peptide. The performance of the resulting effective energy function, termed EEF1-SB, is tested with respect to the properties of folded proteins, the folding of small peptides or fast-folding proteins, and NMR data for intrinsically disordered proteins. The results show that EEF1-SB provides a reasonable description of a wide range of systems, but its key advantage over other methods tested is that it captures very well the structure and dimension of disordered or weakly structured peptides. EEF1-SB is thus a computationally inexpensive (~ 10 times faster than Generalized-Born methods) and transferable approximation for treating solvent effects.