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J Comput Chem. 2013 Apr 30;34(11):893-903. doi: 10.1002/jcc.23199. Epub 2013 Jan 7.

Assessing the quality of absolute hydration free energies among CHARMM-compatible ligand parameterization schemes.

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Department of Chemistry & Department of Biophysics University of Michigan, 930 N. University Ave. Ann Arbor, MI 48109 USA
Contributed equally


Multipurpose atom-typer for CHARMM (MATCH), an atom-typing toolset for molecular mechanics force fields, was recently developed in our laboratory. Here, we assess the ability of MATCH-generated parameters and partial atomic charges to reproduce experimental absolute hydration free energies for a series of 457 small neutral molecules in GBMV2, Generalized Born with a smooth SWitching (GBSW), and fast analytical continuum treatment of solvation (FACTS) implicit solvent models. The quality of hydration free energies associated with small molecule parameters obtained from ParamChem, SwissParam, and Antechamber are compared. Given optimized surface tension coefficients for scaling the surface area term in the nonpolar contribution, these automated parameterization schemes with GBMV2 and GBSW demonstrate reasonable agreement with experimental hydration free energies (average unsigned errors of 0.9-1.5 kcal/mol and R(2) of 0.63-0.87). GBMV2 and GBSW consistently provide slightly more accurate estimates than FACTS, whereas Antechamber parameters yield marginally more accurate estimates than the current generation of MATCH, ParamChem, and SwissParam parameterization strategies. Modeling with MATCH libraries that are derived from different CHARMM topology and parameter files highlights the importance of having sufficient coverage of chemical space within the underlying databases of these automated schemes and the benefit of targeting specific functional groups for parameterization efforts to maximize both the breadth and the depth of the parameterized space.

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