Validating the CHARMM36m Protein Force Field with LJ-PME Reveals Altered Hydrogen Bonding Dynamics under Elevated Pressures

01 June 2021, Version 2
This content is a preprint and has not undergone peer review at the time of posting.


The pressure-temperature phase diagram is important to our understanding of the physics of biomolecules. Compared to studies on temperature effects, studies of the pressure dependence of protein dynamic are rather limited. Molecular dynamics (MD) simulations with fine-tuned force fields (FFs) offer a powerful tool to explore the influence of thermodynamic conditions on proteins. Here we evaluate the transferability of the CHARMM36m (C36m) protein force field at varied pressures compared with NMR data using ubiquitin as a model protein. The pressure dependences of J couplings for hydrogen bonds and order parameters for internal motion are in good agreement with experiment. We demonstrate that the C36m FF combined with the LJ-PME method is suitable for simulations in a wide range of temperature and pressure. As the ubiquitin remains stable up to 2500 bar, we identify the mobility and stability of different hydrogen bonds in response to pressure. Based on those results, C36m is expected to be applied to more proteins in the future to further investigate protein dynamics under elevated pressures.


molecular simulation
protein force field


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