Morgan Lawrenz

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Simulations can provide tremendous insight into the atomistic details of biological mechanisms, but micro- to millisecond timescales are historically only accessible on dedicated supercomputers. We demonstrate that cloud computing is a viable alternative that brings long-timescale processes within reach of a broader community. We used Google's Exacycle(More)
Free-energy changes are essential physicochemical quantities for understanding most biochemical processes. Yet, the application of accurate thermodynamic-integration (TI) computation to biological and macromolecular systems is limited by finite-sampling artifacts. In this paper, we employ independent-trajectories thermodynamic-integration (IT-TI)(More)
Recent successes in simulating protein structure and folding dynamics have demonstrated the power of molecular dynamics to predict the long timescale behaviour of proteins. Here, we extend and improve these methods to predict molecular switches that characterize conformational change pathways between the active and inactive state of nitrogen regulatory(More)
The independent trajectory thermodynamic integration (IT-TI) approach (Lawrenz et. al J. Chem. Theory. Comput. 2009, 5:1106-1116(1)) for free energy calculations with distributed computing is employed to study two distinct cases of protein-ligand binding: first, the influenza surface protein N1 neuraminidase bound to the inhibitor oseltamivir, and second,(More)
An alchemical free energy method with explicit solvent molecular dynamics simulations was applied as part of the blind prediction contest SAMPL3 to calculate binding free energies for seven guests to an acyclic cucurbit-[n]uril host. The predictions included determination of protonation states for both host and guests, docking pose generation, and binding(More)
The highly pathogenic influenza strains H5N1 and H1N1 are currently treated with inhibitors of the viral surface protein neuraminidase (N1). Crystal structures of N1 indicate a conserved, high affinity calcium binding site located near the active site. The specific role of this calcium in the enzyme mechanism is unknown, though it has been shown to be(More)
We describe an innovative protocol for ab initio prediction of ligand crystallographic binding poses and highly effective analysis of large datasets generated for protein-ligand dynamics. We include a procedure for setup and performance of distributed molecular dynamics simulations on cloud computing architectures, a model for efficient analysis of(More)
The Independent-Trajectory Thermodynamic Integration (IT-TI) approach for free energy calculation with distributed computing is described. IT-TI utilizes diverse conformational sampling obtained from multiple, independent simulations to obtain more reliable free energy estimates compared to single TI predictions. The latter may significantly under- or(More)
G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) are a versatile family of membrane-bound signaling proteins. Despite the recent successes in obtaining crystal structures of GPCRs, much needs to be learned about the conformational changes associated with their activation. Furthermore, the mechanism by which ligands modulate the activation of GPCRs has remained elusive.(More)