A New Force Field for Molecular Mechanical Simulation of Nucleic Acids and Proteins

Scott J. Weiner, Peter A. Kollman, U. Chandra Singh, David A. Case, Caterina Ghio, Giuliano Alagona, Salvatore Profeta, Paul Weiner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4757 Scopus citations


We present the development of a force field for simulation of nucleic acids and proteins. Our approach began by obtaining equilibrium bond lengths and angles from microwave, neutron diffraction, and prior molecular mechanical calculations, torsional constants from microwave, NMR, and molecular mechanical studies, nonbonded parameters from crystal packing calculations, and atomic charges from the fit of a partial charge model to electrostatic potentials calculated by ab initio quantum mechanical theory. The parameters were then refined with molecular mechanical studies on the structures and energies of model compounds. For nucleic acids, we focused on methyl ethyl ether, tetrahydrofuran, deoxyadenosine, dimethyl phosphate, 9-methylguanine-1-methylcytosine hydrogen-bonded complex, 9-methyladenine-1-methylthymine hydrogen-bonded complex, and 1,3-dimethyluracil base-stacked dimer. Bond, angle, torsional, nonbonded, and hydrogen-bond parameters were varied to optimize the agreement between calculated and experimental values for sugar pucker energies and structures, vibrational frequencies of dimethyl phosphate and tetrahydrofuran, and energies for base pairing and base stacking. For proteins, we focused on ϕ,ѱ maps of glycyl and alanyl dipeptides, hydrogen-bonding interactions involving the various protein polar groups, and energy refinement calculations on insulin. Unlike the models for hydrogen bonding involving nitrogen and oxygen electron donors, an adequate description of sulfur hydrogen bonding required explicit inclusion of lone pairs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)765-784
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 1 1984
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Catalysis
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry


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