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J Phys Chem B. 2013 May 30;117(21):6505-11. doi: 10.1021/jp4024662. Epub 2013 May 17.

Pitfall in quantum mechanical/molecular mechanical molecular dynamics simulation of small solutes in solution.

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  • 1Department of Chemistry, The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam Road, Hong Kong. haohu@hku.hk

Abstract

Developments in computing hardware and algorithms have made direct molecular dynamics simulation with the combined quantum mechanical/molecular mechanical methods affordable for small solute molecules in solution, in which much improved accuracy can be obtained via the quantum mechanical treatment of the solute molecule and even sometimes water molecules in the first solvation shell. However, unlike the conventional molecular mechanical simulations of large molecules, e.g., proteins, in solutions, special care must be taken in the technical details of the simulation, including the thermostat of the solute/solvent system, so that the conformational space of the solute molecules can be properly sampled. We show here that the common setup for classical molecular mechanical molecular dynamics simulations, such as the Berendsen or single Nose-Hoover thermostat, and/or rigid water models could lead to pathological sampling of the solutes' conformation. In the extreme example of a methanol molecule in aqueous solution, improper and sluggish setups could generate two peaks in the distribution of the O-H bond length. We discuss the factors responsible for this somewhat unexpected result and evoke a simple and ancient technical fix-up to resolve this problem.

PMID:
23642216
[PubMed]
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