An Effective MM/GBSA Protocol for Absolute Binding Free Energy Calculations: A Case Study on SARS-CoV-2 Spike Protein and the Human ACE2 Receptor.

Molecules : a Journal of Synthetic Chemistry and Natural Product Chemistry
Negin Forouzesh, Nikita Mishra

Abstract

The binding free energy calculation of protein-ligand complexes is necessary for research into virus-host interactions and the relevant applications in drug discovery. However, many current computational methods of such calculations are either inefficient or inaccurate in practice. Utilizing implicit solvent models in the molecular mechanics generalized Born surface area (MM/GBSA) framework allows for efficient calculations without significant loss of accuracy. Here, GBNSR6, a new flavor of the generalized Born model, is employed in the MM/GBSA framework for measuring the binding affinity between SARS-CoV-2 spike protein and the human ACE2 receptor. A computational protocol is developed based on the widely studied Ras-Raf complex, which has similar binding free energy to SARS-CoV-2/ACE2. Two options for representing the dielectric boundary of the complexes are evaluated: one based on the standard Bondi radii and the other based on a newly developed set of atomic radii (OPT1), optimized specifically for protein-ligand binding. Predictions based on the two radii sets provide upper and lower bounds on the experimental references: -14.7(ΔGbindBondi)<-10.6(ΔGbindExp.)<-4.1(ΔGbindOPT1) kcal/mol. The consensus estimates of the two bou...Continue Reading

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