Evaluation of free energy landscape for base-amino acid interactions using ab initio force field and extensive sampling

T. Yoshida, T. Nishimura, M. Aida, F. Pichierri, M. M. Gromiha, A. Sarai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Structural data of protein-DNA complex show redundancy and flexibility ill base-amino acid interactions. To understand the origin of the specificity in protein-DNA recognition, we calculated the interaction free energy, enthalpy, entropy, and minimum energy maps for AT-Asn, GC-Asn, AT-Ser, and GC-Ser by means of a set of ab initio force field with extensive conformational sampling. We found that the most preferable interactions in these pairs are stabilized by hydrogen bonding, and are mainly enthalpy driven. However, minima in the free energy maps are not necessarily the same as those in the minimum energy map or enthalpy maps, due to the entropic effect. The effect of entropy is particularly important in the case of GC-Asn. Experimentally observed structures of base-amino acid interactions are within preferable regions in the calculated free energy maps, where there are many different interaction configurations with similar energy. The full geometry optimization procedure using ab initio molecular orbital method was applied to get the optimal interaction geometries for AT-Asn, GC-Asn, AT-Ser, and GC-Ser. We found that there are various base-amino acid combinations with similar interaction energies. These results suggest that the redundancy and conformational flexibility in the base-amino acid interactions play an important role in the protein-DNA recognition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)84-95
Number of pages12
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2001


  • Ab initio force field
  • Base-amino acid interactions
  • Free energy landscape


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