aquaPELE: A Monte Carlo-based algorithm to sample the effects of buried water molecules in proteins
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Water is frequently found inside proteins, carrying out important roles in catalytic reactions or molecular recognition tasks. Therefore, computational models that aim to study protein–ligand interactions usually have to include water effects through explicit or implicit approaches to obtain reliable results. While full explicit models might be too computationally daunting for some applications, implicit models are normally faster but omit some of the most important contributions of water. This is the case of our in-house software, called protein energy landscape exploration (PELE), which uses implicit models to speed up conformational explorations as much as possible; the lack of explicit water sampling, however, limits its model. In this work, we confront this problem with the development of aquaPELE. It is a new algorithm that extends the exploration capabilities while keeping efficiency as it employs a mixed implicit/explicit approach to also take into account the effects of buried water molecules. With an additional Monte Carlo (MC) routine, a set of explicit water molecules is perturbed inside protein cavities and their effects are dynamically adjusted to the current state of the system. As a result, this implementation can be used to predict the principal hydration sites or the rearrangement and displacement of conserved water molecules upon the binding of a ligand. We benchmarked this new tool focusing on estimating ligand binding modes and hydration sites in cavities with important interfacial water molecules, according to crystallographic structures. Results suggest that aquaPELE sets a fast and reliable alternative for molecular recognition studies in systems with a strong water-dependency.
CitationMunicoy, M. [et al.]. aquaPELE: A Monte Carlo-based algorithm to sample the effects of buried water molecules in proteins. "Journal of chemical theory and computation", 17 Novembre 2020, vol. 16, núm. 12, p. 7655-7670.
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