PyCPR – a python-based implementation of the Conjugate Peak Refinement (CPR) algorithm for finding transition state structures

  • Florian J. Gisdon
  • Martin Culka
  • G. Matthias Ullmann
Original Paper


Conjugate peak refinement (CPR) is a powerful and robust method to search transition states on a molecular potential energy surface. Nevertheless, the method was to the best of our knowledge so far only implemented in CHARMM. In this paper, we present PyCPR, a new Python-based implementation of the CPR algorithm within the pDynamo framework. We provide a detailed description of the theory underlying our implementation and discuss the different parts of the implementation. The method is applied to two different problems. First, we illustrate the method by analyzing the gauche to anti-periplanar transition of butane using a semiempirical QM method. Second, we reanalyze the mechanism of a glycyl-radical enzyme, namely of 4-hydroxyphenylacetate decarboxylase (HPD) using QM/MM calculations. In the end, we suggest a strategy how to use our implementation of the CPR algorithm. The integration of PyCPR into the framework pDynamo allows the combination of CPR with the large variety of methods implemented in pDynamo. PyCPR can be used in combination with quantum mechanical and molecular mechanical methods (and hybrid methods) implemented directly in pDynamo, but also in combination with external programs such as ORCA using pDynamo as interface. PyCPR is distributed as free, open source software and can be downloaded from

Graphical Abstract

PyCPR is a search tool for finding saddle points on the potential energy landscape of a molecular system.


Potential energy surface Saddle point Transition state search Minimum energy path Reaction mechanism pDynamo 



This work was supported by the DFG grant UL 174/9.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Computational BiochemistryUniversity of BayreuthBayreuthGermany

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