Reconciling Simulated Ensembles of Apomyoglobin with Experimental Hydrogen/Deuterium Exchange Data Using Bayesian Inference and Multiensemble Markov State Models

J Chem Theory Comput. 2020 Feb 11;16(2):1333-1348. doi: 10.1021/acs.jctc.9b01240. Epub 2020 Jan 23.


Hydrogen/deuterium exchange (HDX) is a powerful technique to investigate protein conformational dynamics at amino acid resolution. Because HDX provides a measurement of solvent exposure of backbone hydrogens, ensemble-averaged over potentially slow kinetic processes, it has been challenging to use HDX protection factors to refine structural ensembles obtained from molecular dynamics simulations. This entails dual challenges: (1) identifying structural observables that best correlate with backbone amide protection from exchange and (2) restraining these observables in molecular simulations to model ensembles consistent with experimental measurements. Here, we make significant progress on both fronts. First, we describe an improved predictor of HDX protection factors from structural observables in simulated ensembles, parametrized from ultralong molecular dynamics simulation trajectory data, with a Bayesian inference approach used to retain the full posterior distribution of model parameters. We next present a new method for obtaining simulated ensembles in agreement with experimental HDX protection factors, in which molecular simulations are performed at various temperatures and restraint biases and used to construct multiensemble Markov State Models (MSMs). Finally, the BICePs (Bayesian Inference of Conformational Populations) algorithm is then used with our HDX protection factor predictor to infer which thermodynamic ensemble agrees best with the experiment and estimate populations of each conformational state in the MSM. To illustrate the approach, we use a combination of HDX protection factor restraints and chemical shift restraints to model the conformational ensemble of apomyoglobin at pH 6. The resulting ensemble agrees well with the experiment and gives insight into the all-atom structure of disordered helices F and H in the absence of heme.

MeSH terms

  • Apoproteins / chemistry*
  • Bayes Theorem
  • Computer Simulation*
  • Hydrogen
  • Markov Chains
  • Models, Chemical
  • Models, Molecular
  • Myoglobin / chemistry*
  • Protein Conformation


  • Apoproteins
  • Myoglobin
  • apomyoglobin
  • Hydrogen