Molecular Dynamics Scoring of Protein–Peptide Models Derived from Coarse-Grained Docking

Molecules, 26(11), 3293, 2021

Authors: Zalewski Mateusz, Kmiecik Sebastian, Koliński Michał


One of the major challenges in the computational prediction of protein–peptide complexes is the scoring of predicted models. Usually, it is very difficult to find the most accurate solutions out of the vast number of sometimes very different and potentially plausible predictions. In this work, we tested the protocol for Molecular Dynamics (MD)-based scoring of protein–peptide complex models obtained from coarse-grained (CG) docking simulations. In the first step of the scoring procedure, all models generated by CABS-dock were reconstructed starting from their original C-alpha trace representations to all-atom (AA) structures. The second step included geometry optimization of the reconstructed complexes followed by model scoring based on receptor–ligand interaction energy estimated from short MD simulations in explicit water. We used two well-known AA MD force fields, CHARMM and AMBER, and a CG MARTINI force field. Scoring results for 66 different protein–peptide complexes show that the proposed MD-based scoring approach can be used to identify protein–peptide models of high accuracy. The results also indicate that the scoring accuracy may be significantly affected by the quality of the reconstructed protein receptor structures.