Apr 27, 2020

Molecular dynamics simulations of protein aggregation: protocols for simulation setup and analysis with Markov state models and transition networks

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
S. SamantrayBirgit Strodel


Protein disorder and aggregation play significant roles in the pathogenesis of numerous neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease. The end products of the aggregation process in these diseases are highly structured amyloid fibrils. Though in most cases small, soluble oligomers formed during amyloid aggregation are the toxic species. A full understanding of the physicochemical forces that drive protein aggregation is thus required if one aims for the rational design of drugs targeting the formation of amyloid oligomers. Among a multitude of biophysical and biochemical techniques that are employed for studying protein aggregation, molecular dynamics (MD) simulations at the atomic level provide the highest temporal and spatial resolution of this process, capturing key steps during the formation of amyloid oligomers. Here we provide a step-by-step guide for setting up, running, and analyzing MD simulations of aggregating peptides using GROMACS. For the analysis we provide the scripts that were developed in our lab, which allow to determine the oligomer size and inter-peptide contacts that drive the aggregation process. Moreover, we explain and provide the tools to derive Markov state models and transit...Continue Reading

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