Application of biasing-potential replicaexchange simulations for loop modeling and refinement of proteins in explicit solvent

Srinivasaraghavan Kannan, Martin Zacharias

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Comparative or homology modeling of a target protein based on sequence similarity to a protein with known structure is widely used to provide structural models of proteins. Depending on the target-template similarity these model structures may contain regions of limited structural accuracy. In principle, molecular dynamics (MD) simulations can be used to refine protein model structures and also to model loop regions that connect structurally conserved regions but it is limited by the currently accessible simulation time scales. A recently developed biasing potential replica exchange (BP-REMD) method was used to refine loops and complete decoy protein structures at atomic resolution including explicit solvent. In standard REMD simulations several replicas of a system are run in parallel at different temperatures allowing exchanges at preset time intervals. In a BP-REMD simulation replicas are controlled by various levels of a biasing potential to reduce the energy barriers associated with peptide backbone dihedral transitions. The method requires much fewer replicas for efficient sampling compared with T-REMD. Application of the approach to several protein loops indicated improved conformational sampling of backbone dihedral angle of loop residues compared to conventional MD simulations. BP-REMD refinement simulations on several test cases starting from decoy structures deviating significantly from the native structure resulted in final structures in much closer agreement with experiment compared to conventional MD simulations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2809-2819
Number of pages11
JournalProteins: Structure, Function and Bioinformatics
Issue number13
StatePublished - Oct 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Conformational sampling
  • Loop modeling
  • Molecular dynamics simulation
  • Protein structure prediction
  • Refinement


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