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Characterization of the three-dimensional free energy manifold for the uracil ribonucleoside from asynchronous replica exchange simulations

Brian K. Radak, Melissa Romanus, Tai-Sung Lee, Haoyuan Chen, Ming Huang, Antons Treikalis, Vivekanandan Balasubramanian, Shantenu Jha, Darrin M. York
J. Chem. Theory Comput. (2015) 11, 373-377
DOI: 10.1021/ct500776j
PMCID: PMC4745604

Replica exchange molecular dynamics has emerged as a powerful tool for efficiently sampling free energy landscapes for conformational and chemical transitions. However, daunting challenges remain in efficiently getting such simulations to scale to the very large number of replicas required to address problems in state spaces beyond two dimensions. The development of enabling technology to carry out such simulations is in its infancy, and thus it remains an open question as to which applications demand extension into higher dimensions. In the present work, we explore this problem space by applying asynchronous Hamiltonian replica exchange molecular dynamics with a combined quantum mechanical/molecular mechanical potential to explore the conformational space for a simple ribonucleoside. This is done using a newly developed software framework capable of executing >3,000 replicas with only enough resources to run 2,000 simultaneously. This may not be possible with traditional synchronous replica exchange approaches. Our results demonstrate 1.) the necessity of high dimensional sampling simulations for biological systems, even as simple as a single ribonucleoside, and 2.) the utility of asynchronous exchange protocols in managing simultaneous resource requirements expected in high dimensional sampling simulations. It is expected that more complicated systems will only increase in computational demand and complexity, and thus the reported asynchronous approach may be increasingly beneficial in order to make such applications available to a broad range of computational scientists.

Research Areas: RNA Folding, Structure, and Catalysis

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