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Exploring, Refining, and Validating the Paradynamics QM/MM Sampling

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journal contribution
posted on 30.08.2012, 00:00 by Nikolay V. Plotnikov, Arieh Warshel
The performance of the paradynamics (PD) reference potential approach in QM/MM calculations is examined. It is also clarified that, in contrast to some possible misunderstandings, this approach provides a rigorous strategy for QM/MM free energy calculations. In particular, the PD approach provides a gradual and controlled way of improving the evaluation of the free energy perturbation associated with moving from the EVB reference potential to the target QM/MM surface. This is achieved by moving from the linear response approximation to the full free energy perturbation approach in evaluating the free energy changes. We also present a systematic way of improving the reference potential by using Gaussian-based correction potentials along a reaction coordinate. In parallel, we review other recent adaptations of the reference potential approach, emphasizing and demonstrating the advantage of using the EVB potential as a reference potential, relative to semiempirical QM/MM molecular orbital potentials. We also compare the PD results to those obtained by direct calculations of the potentials of the mean force (PMF). Additionally, we propose a way of accelerating the PMF calculations by using Gaussian-based negative potentials along the reaction coordinate (which are also used in the PD refinement). Finally, we discuss performance of the PD and the metadynamics approaches in ab initio QM/MM calculations and emphasize the advantage of using the PD approach.