Toward a predictive understanding of slow methyl group dynamics in proteins

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The development of the most recent generation of molecular mechanics force fields promises an increasingly predictive understanding of the protein dynamics-function relationship. Based on extensive validation against various types of experimental data, the AMBER force field ff99SB was benchmarked in recent years as a favorable force field for protein simulations. Recent improvements of the side chain and backbone potentials, made by different groups, led to the ff99SB-ILDN and ff99SBnmr1 force fields, respectively. The combination of these potentials into a unified force field, termed ff99SBnmr1-ILDN, was used in this study to perform a microsecond time scale molecular dynamics simulation of free ubiquitin in explicit solvent for validation against an extensive set of experimental NMR methyl group residual dipolar couplings. Our results show a high level of consistency between the experimental data and the values predicted from the molecular dynamics trajectory reflecting a systematically improved performance of ff99SBnmr1-ILDN over the original ff99SB force field. Moreover, the unconstrained ff99SBnmr1-ILDN MD ensemble achieves a similar level of agreement as the recently introduced EROS ensemble, which was constructed based on a large body of NMR data as constraints, including the methyl residual dipolar couplings. This suggests that ff99SBnmr1-ILDN provides a high-quality representation of the motions of methyl-bearing protein side chains, which are sensitive probes of protein-protein and protein-ligand interactions. © 2011 Biophysical Society.




Long, D., Li, D. W., Walter, K. F. A., Griesinger, C., & Brüschweiler, R. (2011). Toward a predictive understanding of slow methyl group dynamics in proteins. Biophysical Journal, 101(4), 910–915.

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