Transferable Neural Networks for Enhanced Sampling of Protein Dynamics

J Chem Theory Comput. 2018 Apr 10;14(4):1887-1894. doi: 10.1021/acs.jctc.8b00025. Epub 2018 Mar 19.


Variational autoencoder frameworks have demonstrated success in reducing complex nonlinear dynamics in molecular simulation to a single nonlinear embedding. In this work, we illustrate how this nonlinear latent embedding can be used as a collective variable for enhanced sampling and present a simple modification that allows us to rapidly perform sampling in multiple related systems. We first demonstrate our method is able to describe the effects of force field changes in capped alanine dipeptide after learning about a model using AMBER99. We further provide a simple extension to variational dynamics encoders that allows the model to be trained in a more efficient manner on larger systems by encoding the outputs of a linear transformation using time-structure based independent component analysis (tICA). Using this technique, we show how such a model trained for one protein, the WW domain, can efficiently be transferred to perform enhanced sampling on a related mutant protein, the GTT mutation. This method shows promise for its ability to rapidly sample related systems using a single transferable collective variable, enabling us to probe the effects of variation in increasingly large systems of biophysical interest.

MeSH terms

  • Alanine / chemistry
  • Dipeptides / chemistry
  • Molecular Dynamics Simulation*
  • Proteins / chemistry*


  • Dipeptides
  • Proteins
  • Alanine