Atomic Accessibility Radii for Molecular Dynamics Analysis

Please always quote using this URN: urn:nbn:de:0297-zib-68468
  • In molecular structure analysis and visualization, the molecule’s atoms are often modeled as hard spheres parametrized by their positions and radii. While the atom positions result from experiments or molecular simulations, for the radii typically values are taken from literature. Most often, van der Waals (vdW) radii are used, for which diverse values exist. As a consequence, different visualization and analysis tools use different atomic radii, and the analyses are less objective than often believed. Furthermore, for the geometric accessibility analysis of molecular structures, vdW radii are not well suited. The reason is that during the molecular dynamics simulation, depending on the force field and the kinetic energy in the system, non-bonded atoms can come so close to each other that their vdW spheres intersect. In this paper, we introduce a new kind of atomic radius, called atomic accessibility radius’, that better characterizes the accessibility of an atom in a given molecular trajectory. The new radii reflect the movement possibilities of atoms in the simulated physical system. They are computed by solving a linear program that maximizes the radii of the atoms under the constraint that non-bonded spheres do not intersect in the considered molecular trajectory. Using this data-driven approach, the actual accessibility of atoms can be visualized more precisely.

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Author:Norbert LindowORCiD, Daniel BaumORCiD, Hans-Christian HegeORCiD
Document Type:ZIB-Report
Tag:atomic radii; cavity analysis; molecular dynamics
Date of first Publication:2018/04/24
Series (Serial Number):ZIB-Report (18-18)