Molecular Mechanics
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2021 ◽  
Vol 4 (1) ◽  
Yuta Nakajima ◽  
Laura Pedraza-González ◽  
Leonardo Barneschi ◽  
Keiichi Inoue ◽  
Massimo Olivucci ◽  

AbstractColor tuning in animal and microbial rhodopsins has attracted the interest of many researchers, as the color of their common retinal chromophores is modulated by the amino acid residues forming the chromophore cavity. Critical cavity amino acid residues are often called “color switches”, as the rhodopsin color is effectively tuned through their substitution. Well-known color switches are the L/Q and A/TS switches located in the C and G helices of the microbial rhodopsin structure respectively. Recently, we reported on a third G/P switch located in the F helix of the light-driven sodium pumps of KR2 and JsNaR causing substantial spectral red-shifts in the latter with respect to the former. In order to investigate the molecular-level mechanism driving such switching function, here we present an exhaustive mutation, spectroscopic and computational investigation of the P219X mutant set of KR2. To do so, we study the changes in the absorption band of the 19 possible mutants and construct, semi-automatically, the corresponding hybrid quantum mechanics/molecular mechanics models. We found that the P219X feature a red-shifted light absorption with the only exception of P219R. The analysis of the corresponding models indicate that the G/P switch induces red-shifting variations via electrostatic interactions, while replacement-induced chromophore geometrical (steric) distortions play a minor role. However, the same analysis indicates that the P219R blue-shifted variant has a more complex origin involving both electrostatic and steric changes accompanied by protonation state and hydrogen bond networks modifications. These results make it difficult to extract simple rules or formulate theories for predicting how a switch operates without considering the atomistic details and environmental consequences of the side chain replacement.

2021 ◽  
Pedro R. Figueiredo ◽  
Ricardo D. González ◽  
Alexandra T.P. Carvalho

Increased hydrolysis of cocaine to non-toxic compounds is a promising way to prevent cocaine-induced toxicity. However, the short half-life of cocaine in the blood and the rapid conversion in the body to the hydrolysis-resistant metabolite benzoylecgonine, limits the therapeutic potential of serum proteins. Therefore, hydrolysis by tissue-specific hydrolases that do not generate benzoylecgonine deserves further investigation. Here, we report for the first time, the mechanism of cocaine hydrolysis by the human Carboxylesterase 2. We have combined conventional and accelerated Molecular Dynamics, which allowed us to identify the structural motions of the α1 and α10’ helices that act as a putative lid. Quantum Mechanics/Molecular Mechanics calculations on the full cycle showed that the rate-limiting step is the formation of benzoic acid (deacylation step) with an ΔG of 18.3 kcal.mol-1 (a value in close conformity with the experimental value of 19.7 kcal.mol-1).

2021 ◽  
Vol 14 (10) ◽  
pp. 1027
Danielle R. Garcia ◽  
Felipe R. Souza ◽  
Ana P. Guimarães ◽  
Martin Valis ◽  
Zbyšek Pavelek ◽  

Continuing the work developed by our research group, in the present manuscript, we performed a theoretical study of 10 new structures derived from the antivirals cidofovir and ribavirin, as inhibitor prototypes for the enzyme thymidylate kinase from Variola virus (VarTMPK). The proposed structures were subjected to docking calculations, molecular dynamics simulations, and free energy calculations, using the molecular mechanics Poisson-Boltzmann surface area (MM-PBSA) method, inside the active sites of VarTMPK and human TMPK (HssTMPK). The docking and molecular dynamic studies pointed to structures 2, 3, 4, 6, and 9 as more selective towards VarTMPK. In addition, the free energy data calculated through the MM-PBSA method, corroborated these results. This suggests that these compounds are potential selective inhibitors of VarTMPK and, thus, can be considered as template molecules to be synthesized and experimentally evaluated against smallpox.

Prajakta U. Kulkarni ◽  
Harshil Shah ◽  
Vivek K. Vyas

: Quantum mechanics (QM) is physics based theory which explains the physical properties of nature at the level of atoms and sub-atoms. Molecular mechanics (MM) construct molecular systems through the use of classical mechanics. So, hybrid quantum mechanics and molecular mechanics (QM/MM) when combined together can act as computer-based methods which can be used to calculate structure and property data of molecular structures. Hybrid QM/MM combines the strengths of QM with accuracy and MM with speed. QM/MM simulation can also be applied for the study of chemical process in solutions as well as in the proteins, and has a great scope in structure-based drug design (CADD) and discovery. Hybrid QM/MM also applied to HTS, to derive QSAR models and due to availability of many protein crystal structures; it has a great role in computational chemistry, especially in structure- and fragment-based drug design. Fused QM/MM simulations have been developed as a widespread method to explore chemical reactions in condensed phases. In QM/MM simulations, the quantum chemistry theory is used to treat the space in which the chemical reactions occur; however the rest is defined through molecular mechanics force field (MMFF). In this review, we have extensively reviewed recent literature pertaining to the use and applications of hybrid QM/MM simulations for ligand and structure-based computational methods for the design and discovery of therapeutic agents.

2021 ◽  
Vol 9 ◽  
Lirui Lin ◽  
Kai Lin ◽  
Xiaodong Wu ◽  
Jia Liu ◽  
Yinwei Cheng ◽  

Marine nature products are unique compounds that are produced by the marine environment including plants, animals, and microorganisms. The wide diversity of marine natural products have great potential and are versatile in terms of drug discovery. In this paper, we use state-of-the-art computational methods to discover inhibitors from marine natural products to block the function of Fascin, an overexpressed protein in various cancers. First, virtual screening (pharmacophore model and molecular docking) was carried out based on a marine natural products database (12015 molecules) and provided eighteen molecules that could potentially inhibit the function of Fascin. Next, molecular mechanics generalized Born surface area (MM/GBSA) calculations were conducted and indicated that four molecules have higher binding affinities than the inhibitor NP-G2-029, which was validated experimentally. ADMET analyses of pharmacokinetics demonstrated that one of the four molecules does not match the criterion. Finally, ligand Gaussian accelerated molecular dynamics (LiGaMD) simulations were carried out to validate the three inhibitors binding to Fascin stably. In addition, dynamic interactions between protein and ligands were analyzed systematically. Our study will accelerate the development of the cancer drugs targeting Fascin.

2022 ◽  
Vol 207 ◽  
pp. 114268
Yoshinori Shiihara ◽  
Ryosuke Kanazawa ◽  
Daisuke Matsunaka ◽  
Ivan Lobzenko ◽  
Tomohito Tsuru ◽  

Marie-Rose Van Calsteren ◽  
Ricardo Reyes-Chilpa ◽  
Chistopher K Jankowski ◽  
Fleur Gagnon ◽  
Simón Hernández-Ortega ◽  

The tropical tree Calophyllum brasiliense (Clusiaceae) grows in the rain forests from Brazil to Mexico. Its leaves, as well as those of other Calophyllum species, are rich sources of chromanone acids, such as apetalic acid, isoapetalic acid, and their derivatives. Apetalic acid has shown significant antimycobacterial activity. The biological activity of apetalic acid has been related to the configuration of three asymmetric centers and the stereochemistry of the molecule; however, the C-19 configuration in the acidic side chain has not been fully resolved. For this reason, the unequivocal determination of the absolute configuration by means of X-ray crystallography in a sample of unique homogeneous apetalic acid stereoisomer was the most important point to start this study. We prepared some chiral amides using the carboxyl group. We determined the C-19 stereochemistry of apetalic acid, and its specific chiral derivatives, using NMR, X-ray diffraction methods, and molecular mechanics. Finally, we observed that steric hindrance in the side chain of apetalic acid leads to restriction of rotation around the pivotal link C-10 and C-19 establishing chiral centers at C2(R), C3(S), and C19(R). We were able to separate derivatives of these two high-rotatory-barrier conformers of apetalic acid by forming diastereoisomeric amides with phenylglycine methyl ester having a chiral center at C-2’. Our results allowed the conclusion of the existence of atropisomerism in the apetalic acid molecule.

2021 ◽  
Paulius Kantakevičius ◽  
Calvin Mathiah ◽  
Linus Johannissen ◽  
Sam Hay

Metal ions are associated with a variety of proteins and play critical roles in a wide range of biochemical processes. There are multiple ways to study and quantify protein-metal ion interactions, including by molecular dynamics simulations. Recently, the Amber molecular mechanics forcefield was modified to include a 12-6-4LJ potential, which allows better description of non-bonded terms through the additional pairwise Cij coefficients. Here, we demonstrate a method of generating Cij parameters that allows parametrization of specific metal ion-ligating groups in order to tune binding energies computed by thermodynamic integration. The new Cij coefficients were tested on a series of chelators: EDTA, NTA, EGTA and the EF1 loop peptides from the proteins lanmodulin and calmodulin. The new parameters show significant improvements in computed binding energies relative to existing force fields and produce coordination numbers and ion-oxygen distances that are in good agreement with experimental values. This parametrization method should be extensible to a range of other systems and could be readily adapted to tune properties other than binding energies.

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