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J Chem Phys. 2013 Oct 28;139(16):165104. doi: 10.1063/1.4826470.

Exploring chemical reaction mechanisms through harmonic Fourier beads path optimization.

Author information

1
Biotechnology High Performance Computing Software Applications Institute, Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center, United States Army Medical Research and Materiel Command, Fort Detrick, Maryland 21702, USA.

Abstract

Here, we apply the harmonic Fourier beads (HFB) path optimization method to study chemical reactions involving covalent bond breaking and forming on quantum mechanical (QM) and hybrid QM∕molecular mechanical (QM∕MM) potential energy surfaces. To improve efficiency of the path optimization on such computationally demanding potentials, we combined HFB with conjugate gradient (CG) optimization. The combined CG-HFB method was used to study two biologically relevant reactions, namely, L- to D-alanine amino acid inversion and alcohol acylation by amides. The optimized paths revealed several unexpected reaction steps in the gas phase. For example, on the B3LYP∕6-31G(d,p) potential, we found that alanine inversion proceeded via previously unknown intermediates, 2-iminopropane-1,1-diol and 3-amino-3-methyloxiran-2-ol. The CG-HFB method accurately located transition states, aiding in the interpretation of complex reaction mechanisms. Thus, on the B3LYP∕6-31G(d,p) potential, the gas phase activation barriers for the inversion and acylation reactions were 50.5 and 39.9 kcal∕mol, respectively. These barriers determine the spontaneous loss of amino acid chirality and cleavage of peptide bonds in proteins. We conclude that the combined CG-HFB method further advances QM and QM∕MM studies of reaction mechanisms.

PMID:
24182085
DOI:
10.1063/1.4826470
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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