Molecular dynamics (MD) simulations in biophysically relevant time scales of microseconds is a powerful tool for studying biomolecular processes, but results often display force field dependency. Therefore, assessment of force field accuracy using experimental data of biomolecules in solution is essential for simulation studies. Here, we propose the use of structural models obtained via cryo-electron microscopy (cryoEM), which provides biomolecular structures in vitreous ice mimicking the environment in solution. The accuracy of the AMBER (ff99SB-ILDN-NMR, ff14SB, ff15ipq, and ff15FB) and CHARMM (CHARMM22 and CHARMM36m) force fields was assessed by comparing their MD trajectories with the cryoEM data of thermostable hexameric glutamate dehydrogenase (GDH), which included a cryoEM map at a resolution of approximately 3 Å and structure models of subunits reflecting metastable conformations in domain motion occurring in GDH. In the assessment, we validated the force fields with respect to the reproducibility and stability of secondary structures and intersubunit interactions in the cryoEM data. Furthermore, we evaluated the force fields regarding the reproducibility of the energy landscape in the domain motion expected from the cryoEM data. As a result, among the six force fields, ff15FB and ff99SB-ILDN-NMR displayed good agreement with the experiment. The present study demonstrated the advantages of the high-resolution cryoEM map and suggested the optimal force field to reproduce experimentally observed protein structures.
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