American Chemical Society
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Systematic Testing of Belief-Propagation Estimates for Absolute Free Energies in Atomistic Peptides and Proteins

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posted on 2017-11-29, 00:00 authored by Rory M. Donovan-Maiye, Christopher J. Langmead, Daniel M. Zuckerman
Motivated by the extremely high computing costs associated with estimates of free energies for biological systems using molecular simulations, we further the exploration of existing “belief propagation” (BP) algorithms for fixed-backbone peptide and protein systems. The precalculation of pairwise interactions among discretized libraries of side-chain conformations, along with representation of protein side chains as nodes in a graphical model, enables direct application of the BP approach, which requires only ∼1 s of single-processor run time after the precalculation stage. We use a “loopy BP” algorithm, which can be seen as an approximate generalization of the transfer-matrix approach to highly connected (i.e., loopy) graphs, and it has previously been applied to protein calculations. We examine the application of loopy BP to several peptides as well as the binding site of the T4 lysozyme L99A mutant. The present study reports on (i) the comparison of the approximate BP results with estimates from unbiased estimators based on the Amber99SB force field; (ii) investigation of the effects of varying library size on BP predictions; and (iii) a theoretical discussion of the discretization effects that can arise in BP calculations. The data suggest that, despite their approximate nature, BP free-energy estimates are highly accurateindeed, they never fall outside confidence intervals from unbiased estimators for the systems where independent results could be obtained. Furthermore, we find that libraries of sufficiently fine discretization (which diminish library-size sensitivity) can be obtained with standard computing resources in most cases. Altogether, the extremely low computing times and accurate results suggest the BP approach warrants further study.