OPLS3: A Force Field Providing Broad Coverage of Drug-like Small Molecules and Proteins

J Chem Theory Comput. 2016 Jan 12;12(1):281-96. doi: 10.1021/acs.jctc.5b00864. Epub 2015 Dec 1.


The parametrization and validation of the OPLS3 force field for small molecules and proteins are reported. Enhancements with respect to the previous version (OPLS2.1) include the addition of off-atom charge sites to represent halogen bonding and aryl nitrogen lone pairs as well as a complete refit of peptide dihedral parameters to better model the native structure of proteins. To adequately cover medicinal chemical space, OPLS3 employs over an order of magnitude more reference data and associated parameter types relative to other commonly used small molecule force fields (e.g., MMFF and OPLS_2005). As a consequence, OPLS3 achieves a high level of accuracy across performance benchmarks that assess small molecule conformational propensities and solvation. The newly fitted peptide dihedrals lead to significant improvements in the representation of secondary structure elements in simulated peptides and native structure stability over a number of proteins. Together, the improvements made to both the small molecule and protein force field lead to a high level of accuracy in predicting protein-ligand binding measured over a wide range of targets and ligands (less than 1 kcal/mol RMS error) representing a 30% improvement over earlier variants of the OPLS force field.

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms*
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase 2 / chemistry
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase 2 / metabolism
  • Ligands
  • Models, Molecular
  • Peptides / chemistry
  • Protein Binding
  • Protein Structure, Secondary
  • Proteins / chemistry*
  • Proteins / metabolism
  • Quantum Theory
  • Small Molecule Libraries / chemistry*
  • Small Molecule Libraries / metabolism
  • Thermodynamics


  • Ligands
  • Peptides
  • Proteins
  • Small Molecule Libraries
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase 2