The energetic state of a protein is one of the most important representative parameters of its stability. The energy of a protein can be defined as a function of its atomic coordinates. This energy function consists of several components: 1. Bond energy and angle energy, representative of the covalent bonds, bond angles. 2. Dihedral energy, due to the dihedral angles. 3. A van der Waals term (also called Leonard-Jones potential) to ensure that atoms do not have steric clashes. 4. Electrostatic energy accounting for the Coulomb’s Law m protein structure, i.e. the long-range forces between charged and partially charged atoms. All these quantitative terms have been parameterized and are collectively referred to as the ‘force-field’, for e.g. CHARMM, AMBER, AMBERJOPLS and GROMOS. The goal of energy Minimization is to find a set of coordinates representing the minimum energy conformation for the given structure. Various algorithms have been formulated by varying the use of derivatives. Three common algorithms used for this optimization are steepest descent, conjugate gradient and Newton–Raphson. Although energy Minimization is a tool to achieve the nearest local minima, it is also an indispensable tool in correcting structural anomalies, viz. bad stereo-chemistry and short contacts. An efficient optimization protocol could be devised from these methods in conjunction with a larger space exploration algorithm, e.g. molecular dynamics.
Part of the book: Homology Molecular Modeling