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BFEE: A User-Friendly Graphical Interface Facilitating Absolute Binding Free-Energy Calculations

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journal contribution
posted on 06.02.2018, 00:00 by Haohao Fu, James C. Gumbart, Haochuan Chen, Xueguang Shao, Wensheng Cai, Christophe Chipot
Quantifying protein–ligand binding has attracted the attention of both theorists and experimentalists for decades. Many methods for estimating binding free energies in silico have been reported in recent years. Proper use of the proposed strategies requires, however, adequate knowledge of the protein–ligand complex, the mathematical background for deriving the underlying theory, and time for setting up the simulations, bookkeeping, and postprocessing. Here, to minimize human intervention, we propose a toolkit aimed at facilitating the accurate estimation of standard binding free energies using a geometrical route, coined the binding free-energy estimator (BFEE), and introduced it as a plug-in of the popular visualization program VMD. Benefitting from recent developments in new collective variables, BFEE can be used to generate the simulation input files, based solely on the structure of the complex. Once the simulations are completed, BFEE can also be utilized to perform the post-treatment of the free-energy calculations, allowing the absolute binding free energy to be estimated directly from the one-dimensional potentials of mean force in simulation outputs. The minimal amount of human intervention required during the whole process combined with the ergonomic graphical interface makes BFEE a very effective and practical tool for the end-user.