Application of molecular modeling to flavoproteins: insights and challenges

Emil Sjulstok, Ilia A. Solov'yov, Peter L. Freddolino
in book
Methods in Enzymology: New approaches for Flavin Catalysis
edited by
Bruce A. Palfey
Elsevier Aademic Press
The general field of molecular simulation provides a wide spectrum of methodsfor studying the structure and function of biomolecules. Depending on the scale and question of interest, appropriate approaches may range from ab initio quantum mechanical calculations (when detailed aspects of and changes in electronic structure must be considered) to Brownian dynamics and coarse-grained molecular dynamics (to track large scale conformational motions, diffusion, and inter-molecular interactions). The entire range of molecular simulation methods has been fruitfully applied to a range of flavoenzymes, allowing researchers to address everything from the specific intermediates involved in the photoreactions of flavin chromophore-containing light sensors, to the very long timescale motions induced by covalent modifications to bound flavin. The unique challenge posed by flavoproteins to all types of molecular simulation arises from the chemistry of the flavin isoalloxazine moiety, which presents an unusually large delocalized electron system which must be carefully treated in order to represent its contributions to the overall behavior of the system. Here we outline the particular considerations required for appropriate treatment of flavoproteins in simulations ranging from electronic structure calculations to long-timescale modeling of flavoprotein conformational transitions.