Fast, Efficient Generation of High-Quality Atomic Charges. AM1-BCC Model: II. Parameterization and Validation

J Comput Chem. 2002 Dec;23(16):1623-41. doi: 10.1002/jcc.10128.


We present the first global parameterization and validation of a novel charge model, called AM1-BCC, which quickly and efficiently generates high-quality atomic charges for computer simulations of organic molecules in polar media. The goal of the charge model is to produce atomic charges that emulate the HF/6-31G* electrostatic potential (ESP) of a molecule. Underlying electronic structure features, including formal charge and electron delocalization, are first captured by AM1 population charges; simple additive bond charge corrections (BCCs) are then applied to these AM1 atomic charges to produce the AM1-BCC charges. The parameterization of BCCs was carried out by fitting to the HF/6-31G* ESP of a training set of >2700 molecules. Most organic functional groups and their combinations were sampled, as well as an extensive variety of cyclic and fused bicyclic heteroaryl systems. The resulting BCC parameters allow the AM1-BCC charging scheme to handle virtually all types of organic compounds listed in The Merck Index and the NCI Database. Validation of the model was done through comparisons of hydrogen-bonded dimer energies and relative free energies of solvation using AM1-BCC charges in conjunction with the 1994 Cornell et al. forcefield for AMBER.(13) Homo- and hetero-dimer hydrogen-bond energies of a diverse set of organic molecules were reproduced to within 0.95 kcal/mol RMS deviation from the ab initio values, and for DNA dimers the energies were within 0.9 kcal/mol RMS deviation from ab initio values. The calculated relative free energies of solvation for a diverse set of monofunctional isosteres were reproduced to within 0.69 kcal/mol of experiment. In all these validation tests, AMBER with the AM1-BCC charge model maintained a correlation coefficient above 0.96. Thus, the parameters presented here for use with the AM1-BCC method present a fast, accurate, and robust alternative to HF/6-31G* ESP-fit charges for general use with the AMBER force field in computer simulations involving organic small molecules.