American Chemical Society
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Protein−Ligand Binding Affinity by Nonequilibrium Free Energy Methods

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journal contribution
posted on 2008-11-27, 00:00 authored by Benjamin P. Cossins, Sebastien Foucher, Colin M. Edge, Jonathan W. Essex
Nonequilibrium (NE) free energy methods are embarrassingly parallel and may be very conveniently run on desktop computers using distributed computing software. In recent years there has been a proliferation of NE methods, but these approaches have barely, if at all, been used in the context of calculating protein−ligand binding free energies. In a recent study by these authors, different combinations of NE methods with various test systems were compared and protocols identified which yielded results as accurate as replica exchange thermodynamic integration (RETI). The NE approaches, however, lend themselves to extensive parallelization through the use of distributed computing. Here the best performing of those NE protocols, a replica exchange method using Bennett’s acceptance ratio as the free energy estimator (RENE), is applied to two sets of congeneric inhibitors bound to neuraminidase and cyclooxygenase-2. These protein−ligand systems were originally studied with RETI, giving results to which NE and RENE simulations are compared. These NE calculations were carried out on a large, highly distributed group of low-performance desktop computers which are part of a Condor pool. RENE was found to produce results of a predictive quality at least as good as RETI in less than half the wall clock time. However, non-RE NE results were found to be far less predictive. In addition, the RENE method successfully identified a localized region of rapidly changing free energy gradients without the need for prior investigation. These results suggest that the RENE protocol is appropriate for use in the context of predicting protein−ligand binding free energies and that it can offer advantages over conventional, equilibrium approaches.