Normal-mode-analysis-monitored energy minimization procedure for generating small-molecule bound conformations

Qi Wang, Yuan Ping Pang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


The energy minimization of a small molecule alone does not automatically stop at a local minimum of the potential energy surface of the molecule if the minimum is shallow, thus leading to folding of the molecule and con!7equently hampering the generation of the bound conformation of a guest in the absence of its host. This questions the practicality of virtual screening methods that use conformations at local minima of their potential energy surfaces (local minimum conformations) as potential bound conformations. Here we report a normal-mode-analysis-monitored energy minimization (NEM) procedure that generates local minimum conformations as potential bound conformations. Of 22 selected guest-host complex crystal structures with guest structures possessing up to four rotatable bonds, all complexes were reproduced, with guest mass-weighted root mean square deviations of <1.0 Å, through docking with the NEM-generated guest local minimum conformations. An analysis of the potential energies of these local minimum conformations showed tha 22 (100%), 13 (82%), 16 (73%), and 12 (55%) of the 22 guest bound conformations in the crystal structures had conformational strain energies of less than or equal to 3.8, 2.0, 0.6, and 0.0 kcal/mol, respectively. These results suggest that (1) the NEM procedure can generate small-molecule bound conformations, and (2) guests adopt low-strain-energy conformations for complexation, thus supporting the virtual screening methods that use local minimum conformations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere1025
JournalPloS one
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 10 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General


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