pdb2gmx(1) converts pdb files to topology and coordinate files


pdb2gmx -f eiwit.pdb -o conf.gro -p topol.top -i posre.itp -n clean.ndx -q clean.pdb -[no]h -[no]version -nice int -chainsep enum -ff string -water enum -[no]inter -[no]ss -[no]ter -[no]lys -[no]arg -[no]asp -[no]glu -[no]gln -[no]his -angle real -dist real -[no]una -[no]ignh -[no]missing -[no]v -posrefc real -vsite enum -[no]heavyh -[no]deuterate -[no]chargegrp -[no]cmap -[no]renum -[no]rtpres


This program reads a .pdb (or .gro) file, reads some database files, adds hydrogens to the molecules and generates coordinates in GROMACS (GROMOS), or optionally .pdb, format and a topology in GROMACS format. These files can subsequently be processed to generate a run input file.

pdb2gmx will search for force fields by looking for a forcefield.itp file in subdirectories forcefield.ff of the current working directory and of the Gromacs library directory as inferred from the path of the binary or the GMXLIB environment variable. By default the forcefield selection is interactive, but you can use the -ff option to specify one of the short names in the list on the command line instead. In that case pdb2gmx just looks for the corresponding forcefield.ff directory.

After choosing a force field, all files will be read only from the corresponding force field directory. If you want to modify or add a residue types, you can copy the force field directory from the Gromacs library directory to your current working directory. If you want to add new protein residue types, you will need to modify residuetypes.dat in the library directory or copy the whole library directory to a local directory and set the environment variable GMXLIB to the name of that directory. Check Chapter 5 of the manual for more information about file formats.

Note that a .pdb file is nothing more than a file format, and it need not necessarily contain a protein structure. Every kind of molecule for which there is support in the database can be converted. If there is no support in the database, you can add it yourself.

The program has limited intelligence, it reads a number of database files, that allow it to make special bonds (Cys-Cys, Heme-His, etc.), if necessary this can be done manually. The program can prompt the user to select which kind of LYS, ASP, GLU, CYS or HIS residue she wants. For LYS the choice is between neutral (two protons on NZ) or protonated (three protons, default), for ASP and GLU unprotonated (default) or protonated, for HIS the proton can be either on ND1, on NE2 or on both. By default these selections are done automatically. For His, this is based on an optimal hydrogen bonding conformation. Hydrogen bonds are defined based on a simple geometric criterion, specified by the maximum hydrogen-donor-acceptor angle and donor-acceptor distance, which are set by -angle and -dist respectively.

The separation of chains is not entirely trivial since the markup in user-generated PDB files frequently varies and sometimes it is desirable to merge entries across a TER record, for instance if you want a disulfide bridge or distance restraints between two protein chains or if you have a HEME group bound to a protein. In such cases multiple chains should be contained in a single moleculetype definition. To handle this, pdb2gmx has an option -chainsep so you can choose whether a new chain should start when we find a TER record, when the chain id changes, combinations of either or both of these or fully interactively.

pdb2gmx will also check the occupancy field of the .pdb file. If any of the occupancies are not one, indicating that the atom is not resolved well in the structure, a warning message is issued. When a .pdb file does not originate from an X-ray structure determination all occupancy fields may be zero. Either way, it is up to the user to verify the correctness of the input data (read the article!).

During processing the atoms will be reordered according to GROMACS conventions. With -n an index file can be generated that contains one group reordered in the same way. This allows you to convert a GROMOS trajectory and coordinate file to GROMOS. There is one limitation: reordering is done after the hydrogens are stripped from the input and before new hydrogens are added. This means that you should not use -ignh.

The .gro and .g96 file formats do not support chain identifiers. Therefore it is useful to enter a .pdb file name at the -o option when you want to convert a multi-chain .pdb file.

The option -vsite removes hydrogen and fast improper dihedral motions. Angular and out-of-plane motions can be removed by changing hydrogens into virtual sites and fixing angles, which fixes their position relative to neighboring atoms. Additionally, all atoms in the aromatic rings of the standard amino acids (i.e. PHE, TRP, TYR and HIS) can be converted into virtual sites, eliminating the fast improper dihedral fluctuations in these rings. Note that in this case all other hydrogen atoms are also converted to virtual sites. The mass of all atoms that are converted into virtual sites, is added to the heavy atoms.

Also slowing down of dihedral motion can be done with -heavyh done by increasing the hydrogen-mass by a factor of 4. This is also done for water hydrogens to slow down the rotational motion of water. The increase in mass of the hydrogens is subtracted from the bonded (heavy) atom so that the total mass of the system remains the same.


-f eiwit.pdb Input
 Structure file: gro g96 pdb tpr etc. 

-o conf.gro Output
 Structure file: gro g96 pdb etc. 

-p topol.top Output
 Topology file 

-i posre.itp Output
 Include file for topology 

-n clean.ndx Output, Opt.
 Index file 

-q clean.pdb Output, Opt.
 Structure file: gro g96 pdb etc. 


 Print help info and quit

 Print version info and quit

-nice int 0
 Set the nicelevel

-chainsep enum id_or_ter
 Condition in PDB files when a new chain and molecule_type should be started:  id_or_ter id_and_ter ter id or  interactive

-ff string select
 Force field, interactive by default. Use  -h for information.

-water enum select
 Water model to use:  select none spc spce tip3p tip4p or  tip5p

 Set the next 8 options to interactive

 Interactive SS bridge selection

 Interactive termini selection, iso charged

 Interactive lysine selection, iso charged

 Interactive arginine selection, iso charged

 Interactive aspartic Acid selection, iso charged

 Interactive glutamic Acid selection, iso charged

 Interactive glutamine selection, iso neutral

 Interactive histidine selection, iso checking H-bonds

-angle real 135
 Minimum hydrogen-donor-acceptor angle for a H-bond (degrees)

-dist real 0.3
 Maximum donor-acceptor distance for a H-bond (nm)

 Select aromatic rings with united CH atoms on phenylalanine, tryptophane and tyrosine

 Ignore hydrogen atoms that are in the coordinate file

 Continue when atoms are missing, dangerous

 Be slightly more verbose in messages

-posrefc real 1000
 Force constant for position restraints

-vsite enum none
 Convert atoms to virtual sites:  none hydrogens or  aromatics

 Make hydrogen atoms heavy

 Change the mass of hydrogens to 2 amu

 Use charge groups in the  .rtp file

 Use cmap torsions (if enabled in the  .rtp file)

 Renumber the residues consecutively in the output

 Use  .rtp entry names as residue names