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Accelerated Computation of Free Energy Profile at ab Initio Quantum Mechanical/Molecular Mechanics Accuracy via a Semi-Empirical Reference Potential. I. Weighted Thermodynamics Perturbation

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journal contribution
posted on 18.10.2018, 00:00 authored by Pengfei Li, Xiangyu Jia, Xiaoliang Pan, Yihan Shao, Ye Mei
Free energy profile (FE Profile) is an essential quantity for the estimation of reaction rate and the validation of reaction mechanism. For chemical reactions in condensed phase or enzymatic reactions, the computation of FE profile at the ab initio (ai) quantum mechanical/molecular mechanics (QM/MM) level is still far too expensive. Although semiempirical (SE) method can be hundreds or thousands of times faster than the ai methods, the accuracy of SE methods is often unsatisfactory due to the approximations that have been adopted in these methods. In this work, we propose a new method termed MBAR+wTP in which the ai QM/MM free energy profile is computed by a weighted thermodynamic perturbation (TP) correction to the SE profile generated by the multistate Bennett acceptance ratio (MBAR) analysis of the trajectories from umbrella samplings (US). The weight factors used in the TP calculations are a byproduct of the MBAR analysis in the postprocessing of the US trajectories, which are often discarded after the free energy calculations. The raw ai QM/MM free energy profile is then smoothed using Gaussian process regression in which the noise of each datum is set to be inversely proportional to the exponential of the reweighting entropy. The results show that this approach can enhance the efficiency of ai FE profile calculations by several orders of magnitude with only a slight loss of accuracy. This method can significantly enhance the applicability of ai QM/MM methods in the studies of chemical reactions in condensed phase and enzymatic reactions.