GMXPBSA 2.1: A GROMACS tool to perform MM/PBSA and computational alanine scanning

C. Paissoni, D. Spiliotopoulos, G. Musco, A. Spitaleri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


GMXPBSA 2.1 is a user-friendly suite of Bash/Perl scripts for streamlining MM/PBSA calculations on structural ensembles derived from GROMACS trajectories, to automatically calculate binding free energies for protein-protein or ligand-protein complexes [R.T. Bradshaw et al., Protein Eng. Des. Sel. 24 (2011) 197-207]. GMXPBSA 2.1 is flexible and can easily be customized to specific needs and it is an improvement of the previous GMXPBSA 2.0 [C. Paissoni et al., Comput. Phys. Commun. (2014), 185, 2920-2929]. Additionally, it performs computational alanine scanning (CAS) to study the effects of ligand and/or receptor alanine mutations on the free energy of binding. Calculations require only for protein-protein or protein-ligand MD simulations. GMXPBSA 2.1 performs different comparative analyses, including a posteriori generation of alanine mutants of the wild-type complex, calculation of the binding free energy values of the mutant complexes and comparison of the results with the wild-type system. Moreover, it compares the binding free energy of different complex trajectories, allowing the study of the effects of non-alanine mutations, post-translational modifications or unnatural amino acids on the binding free energy of the system under investigation. Finally, it can calculate and rank relative affinity to the same receptor utilizing MD simulations of proteins in complex with different ligands. In order to dissect the different MM/PBSA energy contributions, including molecular mechanic (MM), electrostatic contribution to solvation (PB) and nonpolar contribution to solvation (SA), the tool combines two freely available programs: the MD simulations software GROMACS [S. Pronk et al., Bioinformatics 29 (2013) 845-854] and the Poisson-Boltzmann equation solver APBS [N.A. Baker et al., Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A 98 (2001) 10037-10041]. All the calculations can be performed in single or distributed automatic fashion on a cluster facility in order to increase the calculation by dividing frames across the available processors. This new version with respect to our previously published GMXPBSA 2.0 fixes some problem and allows additional kind of calculations, such as CAS on single protein in order to individuate the hot-spots, more custom options to perform APBS calculations, improvements of speed calculation of APBS (precF set to 0), possibility to work with multichain systems (see Summary of revisions for more details). The program is freely available under the GPL license.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105-107
Number of pages3
JournalComputer Physics Communications
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2015


  • Binding free energy
  • Computational alanine scanning
  • Molecular dynamics simulation
  • Virtual screening

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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