Does the DFT Self-Interaction Error Affect Energies Calculated in Proteins with Large QM Systems?

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We have examined how the self-interaction error in density-functional theory (DFT) calculations affects energies calculated on large systems (600-1000 atoms) involving several charged groups. We employ 18 different quantum mechanical (QM) methods, including Hartree-Fock, as well as pure, hybrid, and range-separated DFT methods. They are used to calculate reaction and activation energies for three different protein models in vacuum, in a point-charge surrounding, or with a continuum-solvent model. We show that pure DFT functionals give rise to a significant delocalization of the charges in charged groups in the protein, typically by 0.1 e, as evidenced from the Mulliken charges. This has a clear effect on how the surroundings affect calculated reaction and activation energies, indicating that these methods should be avoided for DFT calculations on large systems. Fortunately, methods such as CAM-B3LYP, BHLYP, and M06-2X give results that agree within a few kilojoules per mole, especially when the calculations are performed in a point-charge surrounding. Therefore, we recommend these methods to estimate the effect of the surroundings with large QM systems (but other QM methods may be used to study the intrinsic reaction and activation energies).


Enheter & grupper
Externa organisationer
  • Lund University

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ) – OBLIGATORISK

  • Teoretisk kemi
Sidor (från-till)5667-5679
Antal sidor13
TidskriftJournal of Chemical Theory and Computation
StatusPublished - 2016 nov 8
Peer review utfördJa


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