Reaction Coordinates for Conformational Transitions Using Linear Discriminant Analysis on Positions

Subarna Sasmal, Martin McCullagh, Glen M. Hocky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this work, we demonstrate that Linear Discriminant Analysis (LDA) applied to atomic positions in two different states of a biomolecule produces a good reaction coordinate between those two states. Atomic coordinates of a macromolecule are a direct representation of a macromolecular configuration, and yet, they are not used in enhanced sampling studies due to a lack of rotational and translational invariance. We resolve this issue using the technique of our prior work, whereby a molecular configuration is considered a member of an equivalence class in size-and-shape space, which is the set of all configurations that can be translated and rotated to a single point within a reference multivariate Gaussian distribution characterizing a single molecular state. The reaction coordinates produced by LDA applied to positions are shown to be good reaction coordinates both in terms of characterizing the transition between two states of a system within a long molecular dynamics (MD) simulation and also ones that allow us to readily produce free energy estimates along that reaction coordinate using enhanced sampling MD techniques.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4427-4435
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of chemical theory and computation
Issue number14
StatePublished - Jul 25 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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