The fine art of preparing membrane transport proteins for biomolecular simulations: concepts and practical considerations

Hana Shiref, Shana Bergman, Sophie Clivio, Michelle Sahai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Molecular dynamics (MD) simulations have developed into an invaluable tool in bimolecular research, due to the capability of the method in capturing molecular events and structural transitions that describe the function as well as the physiochemical properties of biomolecular systems. Due to the progressive development of more efficient algorithms, expansion of the available computational resources, as well as the emergence of more advanced methodologies, the scope of computational studies has increased vastly over time. We now have access to a multitude of online databases, software packages, larger molecular systems and novel ligands due to the phenomenon of emerging novel psychoactive substances (NPS). With so many advances in the field, it is understandable that novices will no doubt find it challenging setting up a protein-ligand system even before they run their first MD simulation. These initial steps, such as homology modeling, ligand docking, parameterization, protein preparation and membrane setup have become a fundamental part of the drug discovery pipeline, and many areas of biomolecular sciences benefit from the applications provided by these technologies. However, there still remains no standard on their usage. Therefore, our aim within this review is to provide a clear overview of a variety of concepts and methodologies to consider, providing a workflow for a case study of a membrane transport protein, the full-length human dopamine transporter (hDAT) in complex with different stimulants, where MD simulations have recently been applied successfully.

© 2020, Elsevier Inc. The attached document (embargoed until 17/02/2021) is an author produced version of a paper published in METHODS uploaded in accordance with the publisher’s self- archiving policy. The final published version (version of record) is available online at the link. Some minor differences between this version and the final published version may remain. We suggest you refer to the final published version should you wish to cite from it.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 17 Feb 2020

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