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Enhanced Sampling in Free Energy Calculations: Combining SGLD with the Bennett's Acceptance Ratio and Enveloping Distribution Sampling Methods

, : Enhanced Sampling in Free Energy Calculations: Combining SGLD with the Bennett's Acceptance Ratio and Enveloping Distribution Sampling Methods. Journal of Chemical Theory and Computation 8(10): 3650-3662

One of the key requirements for the accurate calculation of free energy differences is proper sampling of conformational space. Especially in biological applications, molecular dynamics simulations are often confronted with rugged energy surfaces and high energy barriers, leading to insufficient sampling and, in turn, poor convergence of the free energy results. In this work, we address this problem by employing enhanced sampling methods. We explore the possibility of using self-guided Langevin dynamics (SGLD) to speed up the exploration process in free energy simulations. To obtain improved free energy differences from such simulations, it is necessary to account for the effects of the bias due to the guiding forces. We demonstrate how this can be accomplished for the Bennett's acceptance ratio (BAR) and the enveloping distribution sampling (EDS) methods. While BAR is considered among the most efficient methods available for free energy calculations, the EDS method developed by Christ and van Gunsteren is a promising development that reduces the computational costs of free energy calculations by simulating a single reference state. To evaluate the accuracy of both approaches in connection with enhanced sampling, EDS was implemented in CHARMM. For testing, we employ benchmark systems with analytical reference results and the mutation of alanine to serine. We find that SGLD with reweighting can provide accurate results for BAR and EDS where conventional molecular dynamics simulations fail. In addition, we compare the performance of EDS with other free energy methods. We briefly discuss the implications of our results and provide practical guidelines for conducting free energy simulations with SGLD.


PMID: 26593010

DOI: 10.1021/ct300116r

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