Generalized Born radii computation using linear models and neural networks

Saida Saad Mohamed Mahmoud, Gennaro Esposito, Giuseppe Serra, Federico Fogolari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Motivation: Implicit solvent models play an important role in describing the thermodynamics and the dynamics of biomolecular systems. Key to an efficient use of these models is the computation of generalized Born (GB) radii, which is accomplished by algorithms based on the electrostatics of inhomogeneous dielectric media. The speed and accuracy of such computations are still an issue especially for their intensive use in classical molecular dynamics. Here, we propose an alternative approach that encodes the physics of the phenomena and the chemical structure of the molecules in model parameters which are learned from examples. Results: GB radii have been computed using (i) a linear model and (ii) a neural network. The input is the element, the histogram of counts of neighbouring atoms, divided by atom element, within 16 Å. Linear models are ca. 8 times faster than the most widely used reference method and the accuracy is higher with correlation coefficient with the inverse of ‘perfect’ GB radii of 0.94 versus 0.80 of the reference method. Neural networks further improve the accuracy of the predictions with correlation coefficient with ‘perfect’ GB radii of 0.97 and ca. 20% smaller root mean square error.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1757-1764
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2020


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