How to obtain statistically converged MM/GBSA results.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The molecular mechanics/generalized Born surface area (MM/GBSA) method has been investigated with the aim of achieving a statistical precision of 1 kJ/mol for the results. We studied the binding of seven biotin analogues to avidin, taking advantage of the fact that the protein is a tetramer with four independent binding sites, which should give the same estimated binding affinities. We show that it is not enough to use a single long simulation (10 ns), because the standard error of such a calculation underestimates the difference between the four binding sites. Instead, it is better to run several independent simulations and average the results. With such an approach, we obtain the same results for the four binding sites, and any desired precision can be obtained by running a proper number of simulations. We discuss how the simulations should be performed to optimize the use of computer time. The correlation time between the MM/GBSA energies is approximately 5 ps and an equilibration time of 100 ps is needed. For MM/GBSA, we recommend a sampling time of 20-200 ps for each separate simulation, depending on the protein. With 200 ps production time, 5-50 separate simulations are required to reach a statistical precision of 1 kJ/mol (800-8000 energy calculations or 1.5-15 ns total simulation time per ligand) for the seven avidin ligands. This is an order of magnitude more than what is normally used, but such a number of simulations is needed to obtain statistically valid results for the MM/GBSA method. (c) 2009 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Comput Chem 2009.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Theoretical Chemistry
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)837-846
JournalJournal of Computational Chemistry
Issue numberOnline 13 Jul 2009
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Publication categoryResearch

Bibliographic note

The information about affiliations in this record was updated in December 2015. The record was previously connected to the following departments: Theoretical Chemistry (S) (011001039)

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