A new implicit solvation model for use in Monte Carlo simulations of polypeptides is introduced. The model is termed ABSINTH for self-Assembly of Biomolecules Studied by an Implicit, Novel, and Tunable Hamiltonian. It is designed primarily for simulating conformational equilibria and oligomerization reactions of intrinsically disordered proteins in aqueous solutions. The paradigm for ABSINTH is conceptually similar to the EEF1 model of Lazaridis and Karplus (Proteins 1999, 35, 133). In ABSINTH, the transfer of a polypeptide solute from the gas phase into a continuum solvent is the sum of a direct mean field interaction (DMFl), and a term to model the screening of polar interactions. Polypeptide solutes are decomposed into a set of distinct solvation groups. The DMFI is a sum of contributions from each of the solvation groups, which are analogs of model compounds. Continuum-mediated screening of electrostatic interactions is achieved using a framework similar to the one used for the DMFI. Promising results are shown for a set of test cases. These include the calculation of NMR coupling constants for short peptides, the assessment of the thermal stability of two small proteins, reversible folding of both an α-helix and a β-hairpin forming peptide, and the polymeric properties of intrinsically disordered polyglutamine peptides of varying lengths. The tests reveal that the computational expense for simulations with the ABSINTH implicit solvation model increase by a factor that is in the range of 2.5-5.0 with respect to gas-phase calculations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)673-699
Number of pages27
JournalJournal of Computational Chemistry
Issue number5
StatePublished - Apr 15 2009


  • Continuum salvation
  • Folding
  • Monte Carlo


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