Orzechowski, Marek / Tama, Florence. Flexible fitting of high-resolution x-ray structures into cryoelectron microscopy maps using biased molecular dynamics simulations. 2008. Biophysical journal, Vol. 95, No. 12, p. 5692-5705
A methodology for flexible fitting of all-atom high-resolution structures into low-resolution cryoelectron microscopy (cryo-EM) maps is presented. Flexibility of the modeled structure is simulated by classical molecular dynamics and an additional effective potential is introduced to enhance the fitting process. The additional potential is proportional to the correlation coefficient between the experimental cryo-EM map and a synthetic map generated for an all-atom structure being fitted to the map. The additional forces are calculated as a gradient of the correlation coefficient. During the molecular dynamics simulations under the additional forces, the molecule undergoes a conformational transition that maximizes the correlation coefficient, which results in a high-accuracy fit of all-atom structure into a cryo-EM map. Using five test proteins that exhibit structural rearrangement during their biological activity, we demonstrate performance of our method. We also test our method on the experimental cryo-EM of elongation factor G and show that the model obtained is comparable to previous studies. In addition, we show that overfitting can be avoided by assessing the quality of the fitted model in terms of correlation coefficient and secondary structure preservation.