Comparison of secondary structure formation using 10 different force fields in microsecond molecular dynamics simulations

E.A. Cino, W.-Y. Choy, M.E.J. Karttunen

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Abstract

We have compared molecular dynamics (MD) simulations of a ß-hairpin forming peptide derived from the protein Nrf2 with 10 biomolecular force fields using trajectories of at least 1 µs. The total simulation time was 37.2 µs. Previous studies have shown that different force fields, water models, simulation methods, and parameters can affect simulation outcomes. The MD simulations were done in explicit solvent with a 16-mer Nrf2 ß-hairpin forming peptide using Amber ff99SB-ILDN, Amber ff99SB*-ILDN, Amber ff99SB, Amber ff99SB*, Amber ff03, Amber ff03*, GROMOS96 43a1p, GROMOS96 53a6, CHARMM27, and OPLS-AA/L force fields. The effects of charge-groups, terminal capping, and phosphorylation on the peptide folding were also examined. Despite using identical starting structures and simulation parameters, we observed clear differences among the various force fields and even between replicates using the same force field. Our simulations show that the uncapped peptide folds into a native-like ß-hairpin structure at 310 K when Amber ff99SB-ILDN, Amber ff99SB*-ILDN, Amber ff99SB, Amber ff99SB*, Amber ff03, Amber ff03*, GROMOS96 43a1p, or GROMOS96 53a6 were used. The CHARMM27 simulations were able to form native hairpins in some of the elevated temperature simulations, while the OPLS-AA/L simulations did not yield native hairpin structures at any temperatures tested. Simulations that used charge-groups or peptide capping groups were not largely different from their uncapped counterparts with single atom charge-groups. On the other hand, phosphorylation of the threonine residue located at the ß-turn significantly affected the hairpin formation. To our knowledge, this is the first study comparing such a large set of force fields with respect to ß-hairpin folding. Such a comprehensive comparison will offer useful guidance to others conducting similar types of simulations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2725-2740
JournalJournal of Chemical Theory and Computation
Volume8
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes

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