A novel enhanced conformational sampling method, virtual-system-coupled adaptive umbrella sampling (V-AUS), was proposed to compute 300-K free-energy landscape for flexible molecular docking, where a virtual degrees of freedom was introduced to control the sampling. This degree of freedom interacts with the biomolecular system. V-AUS was applied to complex formation of two disordered amyloid-β (Aβ30-35 ) peptides in a periodic box filled by an explicit solvent. An interpeptide distance was defined as the reaction coordinate, along which sampling was enhanced. A uniform conformational distribution was obtained covering a wide interpeptide distance ranging from the bound to unbound states. The 300-K free-energy landscape was characterized by thermodynamically stable basins of antiparallel and parallel β-sheet complexes and some other complex forms. Helices were frequently observed, when the two peptides contacted loosely or fluctuated freely without interpeptide contacts. We observed that V-AUS converged to uniform distribution more effectively than conventional AUS sampling did.
Keywords: adaptive umbrella; flexible docking; free-energy landscape; multicanonical; virtual system.
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