A 500 ps molecular dynamics simulation study of interleukin-1 beta in water. Correlation with nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy and crystallography

J Mol Biol. 1992 Jul 5;226(1):239-50. doi: 10.1016/0022-2836(92)90136-8.


We report the results of a 500 ps molecular dynamics simulation of the cytokine interleukin-1 beta, a protein of 153 amino acids, immersed in a sphere of 3783 bulk water molecules with a radius of 33 A. The simulation reproduces the amplitudes of the fast librational motions of the backbone N-H bonds determined from 15N nuclear magnetic relaxation data, as well as the crystallographic B-factors. Moreover, this study suggests a molecular picture of the nature of the slow internal motions that have been inferred from nuclear magnetic resonance relaxation experiments. These experiments indicated that, in addition to fast motions common to all residues, 32 surface residues exhibit slow motions on the 400 ps to 5 ns time-scale. While the present simulation is not sufficiently long to provide a quantitative description of events on this time-scale, it is long enough to observe several large amplitude transitions that are likely candidates for these slow motions. Specifically, in many of these 32 residues, the N-H groups are hydrogen bonded and infrequent dihedral transitions cause the N-H vectors to jump between states with well-defined orientations. It is shown that the time course of the angular reorientational correlation functions of these residues calculated from the trajectory is a reflection of the random times at which these infrequent jumps happen to have occurred. Thus, while the rate of these transitions cannot be quantified, the simulated decay of these correlation functions is completely consistent with the physical picture in which the N-H vectors, in addition to fast librational motion, undergo large amplitude jumps between conformations stabilized by hydrogen bonds.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Computer Simulation*
  • Hydrogen Bonding
  • Interleukin-1 / chemistry*
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy
  • Mathematics
  • Water / chemistry
  • X-Ray Diffraction


  • Interleukin-1
  • Water