Combined quantum mechanics/molecular mechanics (QM/MM) methods in computational enzymology

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

373 Citations (Scopus)


Computational enzymology is a rapidly maturing field that is increasingly integral to understanding mechanisms of enzyme-catalyzed reactions and their practical applications. Combined quantum mechanics/molecular mechanics (QM/MM) methods are important in this field. By treating the reacting species with a quantum mechanical method (i.e., a method that calculates the electronic structure of the active site) and including the enzyme environment with simpler molecular mechanical methods, enzyme reactions can be modeled. Here, we review QM/MM methods and their application to enzyme-catalyzed reactions to investigate fundamental and practical problems in enzymology. A range of QM/MM methods is available, from cheaper and more approximate methods, which can be used for molecular dynamics simulations, to highly accurate electronic structure methods. We discuss how modeling of reactions using such methods can provide detailed insight into enzyme mechanisms and illustrate this by reviewing some recent applications. We outline some practical considerations for such simulations. Further, we highlight applications that show how QM/MM methods can contribute to the practical development and application of enzymology, e.g., in the interpretation and prediction of the effects of mutagenesis and in drug and catalyst design.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2708-28
Number of pages21
Issue number16
Publication statusPublished - 23 Apr 2013


  • Quantum Theory
  • Biochemistry
  • Amidohydrolases
  • Acetylcholinesterase
  • Enzymes
  • Drug Resistance
  • Butyrylcholinesterase
  • Models, Chemical
  • Molecular Dynamics Simulation
  • HIV Protease
  • Drug Design
  • Catalysis


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