Journal article

Improving small-molecule force field parameters in ligand binding studies

  • Raniolo, Stefano ORCID Euler Institute (EUL), Università della Svizzera italiana, Switzerland
  • Limongelli, Vittorio ORCID Euler Institute (EUL), Università della Svizzera italiana, Switzerland - Department of Pharmacy, University of Naples “Federico II”, Naples, Italy
  • 2021
Published in:
  • Frontiers in molecular biosciences . - 2021, vol. 8, p. 760283
English Small molecules are major players of many chemical processes in diverse fields, from material science to biology. They are made by a combination of carbon and heteroatoms typically organized in system-specific structures of different complexity. This peculiarity hampers the application of standard force field parameters and their in silico study by means of atomistic simulations. Here, we combine quantum-mechanics and atomistic free-energy calculations to achieve an improved parametrization of the ligand torsion angles with respect to the state-of-the-art force fields in the paradigmatic molecular binding system benzamidine/trypsin. Funnel-Metadynamics calculations with the new parameters greatly reproduced the high-resolution crystallographic ligand binding mode and allowed a more accurate description of the binding mechanism, when the ligand might assume specific conformations to cross energy barriers. Our study impacts on future drug design investigations considering that the vast majority of marketed drugs are small-molecules.
  • English
Open access status
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