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Given a set of structures of the same molecule, it is often necessary to decide which are more similar or less similar to each other. This module presents a few ways to approach that problem, including root mean squared distance (RMSD), least RMSD, and intramolecular distance measures.

    Topics in this module

  • Comparing Molecular Conformations
  • RMSD and lRMSD
  • Optimal Alignment for lRMSD Using Rotation Matrices
  • Optimal Alignment for lRMSD Using Quaternions
    • Introduction to Quaternions
    • Quaternions and Three-Dimensional Rotations
    • Optimal Alignment with Quaternions
  • Intramolecular Distance and Related Measures

Comparing molecular conformations

Molecules are not rigid. On the contrary, they are highly flexible objects, capable of changing shape dramatically through the rotation of dihedral angles. We need a measure to express how much a molecule changes going from one conformation to another, or alternatively, how different two conformations are from each other. Each distinct shape of a given molecule is called a conformation . Although one could conceivably compute the volume of the intersection of thealpha shapes for two conformations (see Molecular Shapes and Surfaces for an explanation of alpha shapes) to measure the shape change, this is prohibitively computationally expensive. Simpler measures of distance between conformations have been defined, based on variables such as the Cartesian coordinates for each atom, or the bond and torsion angles within the molecule. When working with Cartesian coordinates, one can represent a molecular conformation as a vector whose components are the Cartesian coordinates of the molecule's atoms. Therefore, a conformation for a molecule with N atoms can be represented as a 3N-dimensional vector of real numbers.

Rmsd and lrmsd

One of the most widely accepted difference measures for conformations of a molecule is least root mean square deviation (lRMSD) . To calculate the RMSD of a pair of structures (say x and y), each structure must be represented as a 3N-length (assuming N atoms) vector of coordinates. The RMSD is the square root of the average of the squared distances between corresponding atoms of x and y. It is a measure of the average atomic displacement between the two conformations:

However, when molecular conformations are sampled from molecular dynamics or other forms of sampling, it is often the case that the molecule drifts away from the origin and rotates in an arbitrary way. The lRMSD distance aims at compensating for these facts by representing the minimum RMSD over all possible relative positions and orientations of the two conformations under consideration. Calculating the lRMSD consists of first finding an optimal alignment of the two structures, and then calculating their RMSD. Note that aligning two conformations may require both a translation and rotation. In other words, before computing the RMSD distance, it is necessary to remove the translation of the centroid of both conformations and to perform an "optimal alignment" or "optimal rotation" of them, since these two factors artificially increase the RMSD distance between them.

Questions & Answers

what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
Bharti
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
Daniel
how to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
Maciej
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for teaching engĺish at school how nano technology help us
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Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
s.
fullerene is a bucky ball aka Carbon 60 molecule. It was name by the architect Fuller. He design the geodesic dome. it resembles a soccer ball.
Tarell
what is the actual application of fullerenes nowadays?
Damian
That is a great question Damian. best way to answer that question is to Google it. there are hundreds of applications for buck minister fullerenes, from medical to aerospace. you can also find plenty of research papers that will give you great detail on the potential applications of fullerenes.
Tarell
what is the Synthesis, properties,and applications of carbon nano chemistry
Abhijith Reply
Mostly, they use nano carbon for electronics and for materials to be strengthened.
Virgil
is Bucky paper clear?
CYNTHIA
so some one know about replacing silicon atom with phosphorous in semiconductors device?
s. Reply
Yeah, it is a pain to say the least. You basically have to heat the substarte up to around 1000 degrees celcius then pass phosphene gas over top of it, which is explosive and toxic by the way, under very low pressure.
Harper
Do you know which machine is used to that process?
s.
how to fabricate graphene ink ?
SUYASH Reply
for screen printed electrodes ?
SUYASH
What is lattice structure?
s. Reply
of graphene you mean?
Ebrahim
or in general
Ebrahim
in general
s.
Graphene has a hexagonal structure
tahir
On having this app for quite a bit time, Haven't realised there's a chat room in it.
Cied
what is biological synthesis of nanoparticles
Sanket Reply
what's the easiest and fastest way to the synthesize AgNP?
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Cied
types of nano material
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I start with an easy one. carbon nanotubes woven into a long filament like a string
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many many of nanotubes
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what is the function of carbon nanotubes?
Cesar
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what is nanomaterials​ and their applications of sensors.
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what is system testing?
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how to synthesize TiO2 nanoparticles by chemical methods
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Source:  OpenStax, Geometric methods in structural computational biology. OpenStax CNX. Jun 11, 2007 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col10344/1.6
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