Short peptide self-assembly in the Martini coarse grain forcefield family

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Conspectus Pivotal to the success of any computational experiment is the ability to make reliable predictions about the system under study and the time required to yield these results. Biomolecular interactions is one area of research that sits in every camp of resolution vs the time required, from the quantum mechanical level to in vivo studies. At an approximate midpoint, there is coarse-grained molecular dynamics, for which the Martini force fields have become the most widely used, fast enough to simulate the entire membrane of a mitochondrion though lacking atom-specific precision. While many force fields have been parametrized to account for a specific system under study, the Martini force field has aimed at casting a wider net with more generalized bead types that have demonstrated suitability for broad use and reuse in applications from protein-graphene oxide coassembly to polysaccharides interactions. In this Account, the progressive (Martini versions 1 through 3) and peripheral (Sour Martini, constant pH, Martini Straight, Dry Martini, etc.) developmental trajectory of the Martini force field will be analyzed in terms of self-assembling systems with a focus on short (two to three amino acids) peptide self-assembly in aqueous environments. In particular, this will focus on the effects of the Martini solvent model and compare how changes in bead definitions and mapping have effects on different systems. Considerable effort in the development of Martini has been expended to reduce the “stickiness” of amino acids to better simulate proteins in bilayers. We have included in this Account a short study of dipeptide self-assembly in water, using all mainstream Martini force fields, to examine their ability to reproduce this behavior. The three most recently released versions of Martini and variations in their solvents are used to simulate in triplicate all 400 dipeptides of the 20 gene-encoded amino acids. The ability of the force fields to model the self-assembly of the dipeptides in aqueoues environments is determined by the measurement of the aggregation propensity, and additional descriptors are used to gain further insight into the dipeptide aggregates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)644-654
Number of pages11
JournalAccounts of Chemical Research
Issue number6
Early online date3 Mar 2023
Publication statusPublished - 21 Mar 2023


  • short-peptide
  • self-assembly
  • Martini coarse grain forcefield family


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