Ensemble-Biased Metadynamics: A Molecular Simulation Method to Sample Experimental Distributions

Biophys J. 2015 Jun 16;108(12):2779-82. doi: 10.1016/j.bpj.2015.05.024.


We introduce an enhanced-sampling method for molecular dynamics (MD) simulations referred to as ensemble-biased metadynamics (EBMetaD). The method biases a conventional MD simulation to sample a molecular ensemble that is consistent with one or more probability distributions known a priori, e.g., experimental intramolecular distance distributions obtained by double electron-electron resonance or other spectroscopic techniques. To this end, EBMetaD adds an adaptive biasing potential throughout the simulation that discourages sampling of configurations inconsistent with the target probability distributions. The bias introduced is the minimum necessary to fulfill the target distributions, i.e., EBMetaD satisfies the maximum-entropy principle. Unlike other methods, EBMetaD does not require multiple simulation replicas or the introduction of Lagrange multipliers, and is therefore computationally efficient and straightforward in practice. We demonstrate the performance and accuracy of the method for a model system as well as for spin-labeled T4 lysozyme in explicit water, and show how EBMetaD reproduces three double electron-electron resonance distance distributions concurrently within a few tens of nanoseconds of simulation time. EBMetaD is integrated in the open-source PLUMED plug-in (www.plumed-code.org), and can be therefore readily used with multiple MD engines.

Publication types

  • Letter
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural

MeSH terms

  • Molecular Dynamics Simulation*
  • Protein Conformation*
  • Software*