Conformational changes in biomolecules often take place on longer timescales than are easily accessible with unbiased molecular dynamics simulations, necessitating the use of enhanced sampling techniques, such as adaptive umbrella sampling. In this technique, the conformational free energy is calculated in terms of a designated set of reaction coordinates. At the same time, estimates of this free energy are subtracted from the potential energy in order to remove free energy barriers and cause conformational changes to take place more rapidly. This dissertation presents applications of adaptive umbrella sampling to a variety of biomolecular systems. The first study investigated the effects of glycosylation in GalNAc2-MM1, an analog of glycosylated macrophage activating factor. It was found that glycosylation destabilizes the protein by increasing the solvent exposure of hydrophobic residues. The second study examined the role of bound calcium ions in promoting the isomerization of a cis peptide bond in the collagen-binding domain of Clostridium histolyticum collagenase. This study determined that the bound calcium ions reduced the barrier to the isomerization of this peptide bond as well as stabilizing the cis conformation thermodynamically, and identified some of the reasons for this. The third study represents the application of GAMUS (Gaussian mixture adaptive umbrella sampling) to on the conformational dynamics of the fluorescent dye Cy3 attached to the 5' end of DNA, and made predictions concerning the affinity of Cy3 for different base pairs, which were subsequently verified experimentally. Finally, the adaptive umbrella sampling method is extended to make use of the roll angle between adjacent base pairs as a reaction coordinate in order to examine the bending both of free DNA and of DNA bound to the archaeal protein Sac7d. It is found that when DNA bends significantly, cations from the surrounding solution congregate on the concave side, which increases the flexibility of the DNA by screening the repulsion between phosphate backbones. The flexibility of DNA on short length scales is compared to the worm-like chain model, and the contribution of cooperativity in DNA bending to protein-DNA binding is assessed.
- Applications of adaptive umbrella sampling in biomolecular simulation
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by Justin Matthew Spiriti