A hybrid coarse-grained (CG) and atomistic (AT) model for protein simulations and rapid searching and refinement of peptide–protein complexes has been developed. In contrast to other hybrid models that typically represent spatially separate parts of a protein by either a CG or an AT force field model, the present approach simultaneously represents the protein by an AT (united atom) and a CG model. The interactions of the protein main chain are described based on the united atom force field allowing a realistic representation of protein secondary structures. In addition, the AT description of all other bonded interactions keeps the protein compatible with a realistic bonded geometry. Nonbonded interactions between side chains and side chains and main chain are calculated at the level of a CG model using a knowledge-based potential. Unrestrained molecular dynamics simulations on several test proteins resulted in trajectories in reasonable agreement with the corresponding experimental structures. Applications to the refinement of docked peptide–protein complexes resulted in improved complex structures. Application to the rapid refinement of docked protein–protein complex is also possible but requires further optimization of force field parameters. Proteins 2013. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
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