KOBRA: a fluctuating elastic rod model for slender biological macromolecules†
KOBRA (KirchOff Biological Rod Algorithm) is an algorithm and software package designed to perform dynamical simulations of elongated biomolecules such as those containing alpha-helices and coiled-coils. It represents these as coarsely-discretised Kirchoff rods, with linear elements that can stretch, bend and twist independently. These rods can have anisotropic and inhomogeneous parameters and bent or twisted equilibrium structures, allowing for a coarse-grained parameterisation of complex biological structures. Each element is non-inertial and subject to thermal fluctuations. The speed and simplicity of the algorithm allows KOBRA rods to easily access timescales from nanoseconds to seconds. To demonstrate this functionality, a KOBRA rod was parameterised using data from all-atom simulations of the Ndc80 protein complex, and compared against these simulations and negative-stain EM images. The distribution of bend angles and principal components were highly correlated between KOBRA, all-atom molecular dynamics, and experimental data. The properties of a hinge region, thought to be found at an unstructured loop, were studied. A C++ implementation of KOBRA is available under the GNU GPLv3 free software licence.