Daria B Kokh, and Rebecca C Wade (2021).
Journal of chemical theory and computation, 17, 6610-6623.   (PubMed)

There is a growing appreciation of the importance of drug-target binding kinetics for lead optimization. For G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs), which mediate signaling over a wide range of time scales, the drug dissociation rate is often a better predictor of in vivo efficacy than binding affinity, although it is more challenging to compute. Here, we assess the ability of the τ-Random Acceleration Molecular Dynamics (τRAMD) approach to reproduce relative residence times and reveal dissociation mechanisms and the effects of allosteric modulation for two important membrane-embedded drug targets: the β2-adrenergic receptor and the muscarinic acetylcholine receptor M2. The dissociation mechanisms observed in the relatively short RAMD simulations (in which molecular dynamics (MD) simulations are performed using an additional force with an adaptively assigned random orientation applied to the ligand) are in general agreement with much more computationally intensive conventional MD and metadynamics simulations. Remarkably, although decreasing the magnitude of the random force generally reduces the number of egress routes observed, the ranking of ligands by dissociation rate is hardly affected and agrees well with experiment. The simulations also reproduce changes in residence time due to allosteric modulation and reveal associated changes in ligand dissociation pathways.

This work describes an example of using τ-Random Acceleration Molecular Dynamics (τRAMD) in kinetic calculations.