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Journal Article

Classical Molecular Dynamics with Mobile Protons


Hummer,  Gerhard       
Department of Theoretical Biophysics, Max Planck Institute of Biophysics, Max Planck Society;

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Lazaridis, T., & Hummer, G. (2017). Classical Molecular Dynamics with Mobile Protons. Journal of Chemical Information and Modeling, 57(11), 2833-2845. doi:10.1021/acs.jcim.7b00603.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0001-2774-1
An important limitation of standard classical molecular dynamics simulations is the inability to make or break chemical bonds. This restricts severely our ability to study processes that involve even the simplest of chemical reactions, the transfer of a proton. Existing approaches for allowing proton transfer in the context of classical mechanics are rather cumbersome and have not achieved widespread use and routine status. Here we reconsider the combination of molecular dynamics with periodic stochastic proton hops. To ensure computational efficiency, we propose a non-Boltzmann acceptance criterion that is heuristically adjusted to maintain the correct or desirable thermodynamic equilibria between different protonation states and proton transfer rates. Parameters are proposed for hydronium, Asp, Glu, and His. The algorithm is implemented in the program CHARMM and tested on proton diffusion in bulk water and carbon nanotubes and on proton conductance in the gramicidin A channel. Using hopping parameters determined from proton diffusion in bulk water, the model reproduces the enhanced proton diffusivity in carbon nanotubes and gives a reasonable estimate of the proton conductance in gramicidin A.