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Connecting the molecular world to biology requires understanding how molecular-scale dynamics propagate upward in scale to define the function of biological structures. To address this challenge, multiscale approaches, including coarse-graining methods, become necessary. We discuss here the theoretical underpinnings and history of coarse-graining and summarize the state of the field, organizing key methodologies based on an emerging paradigm for multiscale theory and modeling of biomolecular systems. This framework involves an integrated, iterative approach to couple information from different scales. The primary steps, which coincide with key areas of method development, include developing first-pass coarse-grained models guided by experimental results, performing numerous large-scale coarse-grained simulations, identifying important interactions that drive emergent behaviors, and finally reconnecting to the molecular scale by performing all-atom molecular dynamics simulations guided by the coarse-grained results. The coarse-grained modeling can then be extended and refined, with the entire loop repeated iteratively if necessary.


Marissa G Saunders, Gregory A Voth. Coarse-graining methods for computational biology. Annual review of biophysics. 2013;42:73-93

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PMID: 23451897

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