Virtual screening of small molecules using molecular docking has become an important tool in drug discovery. However, large scale virtual screening is time demanding and usually requires dedicated computer clusters. There are a number of software tools that perform virtual screening using AutoDock4 but they require access to dedicated Linux computer clusters. Also no software is available for performing virtual screening with Vina using computer clusters. In this paper we present MOLA, an easy-to-use graphical user interface tool that automates parallel virtual screening using AutoDock4 and/or Vina in bootable non-dedicated computer clusters.
MOLA automates several tasks including: ligand preparation, parallel AutoDock4/Vina jobs distribution and result analysis. When the virtual screening project finishes, an open-office spreadsheet file opens with the ligands ranked by binding energy and distance to the active site. All results files can automatically be recorded on an USB-flash drive or on the hard-disk drive using VirtualBox. MOLA works inside a customized Live CD GNU/Linux operating system, developed by us, that bypass the original operating system installed on the computers used in the cluster. This operating system boots from a CD on the master node and then clusters other computers as slave nodes via ethernet connections.
MOLA is an ideal virtual screening tool for non-experienced users, with a limited number of multi-platform heterogeneous computers available and no access to dedicated Linux computer clusters. When a virtual screening project finishes, the computers can just be restarted to their original operating system. The originality of MOLA lies on the fact that, any platform-independent computer available can he added to the cluster, without ever using the computer hard-disk drive and without interfering with the installed operating system. With a cluster of 10 processors, and a potential maximum speed-up of 10x, the parallel algorithm of MOLA performed with a speed-up of 8,64× using AutoDock4 and 8,60× using Vina.
The AutoDock family of software has been widely used in protein-ligand docking research. This study compares AutoDock 4 and AutoDock Vina in the context of virtual screening by using these programs to select compounds active against HIV protease.
Both programs were used to rank the members of two chemical libraries, each containing experimentally verified binders to HIV protease. In the case of the NCI Diversity Set II, both AutoDock 4 and Vina were able to select active compounds significantly better than random (AUC = 0.69 and 0.68, respectively; p<0.001). The binding energy predictions were highly correlated in this case, with r = 0.63 and ι = 0.82. For a set of larger, more flexible compounds from the Directory of Universal Decoys, the binding energy predictions were not correlated, and only Vina was able to rank compounds significantly better than random.
In ranking smaller molecules with few rotatable bonds, AutoDock 4 and Vina were equally capable, though both exhibited a size-related bias in scoring. However, as Vina executes more quickly and is able to more accurately rank larger molecules, researchers should look to it first when undertaking a virtual screen.
AUTODOCK Vina is an open-source program which is steadfast and authentic to perform docking simulations. Though, Auto Dock Tools can help perform docking simulations with Vina, it largely remains as a platform for docking single molecule at a time.
"AUDocker LE" is designed with an aim to develop a software tool as a front end graphical interface with C# language to perform docking experiments in Windows based computers. It helps users to perform automated continuous docking of large ligand databases into a set of predefined protein targets. It will also help the user to analyze the results to select promising lead molecules.
AUDocker LE provides a straight forward graphical interface which can be used in a standard personal computer with Microsoft Windows XP or Windows 7 as the operating system where Autodock Vina, Python 2.5 and .net frame work are preinstalled.
Biomedical applications have become increasingly complex, and they often require large-scale high-performance computing resources with a large number of processors and memory. The complexity of application deployment and the advances in cluster, grid and cloud computing require new modes of support for biomedical research. Scientific Software as a Service (sSaaS) enables scalable and transparent access to biomedical applications through simple standards-based Web interfaces. Towards this end, we built a production web server (http://ws.nbcr.net) in August 2007 to support the bioinformatics application called MEME. The server has grown since to include docking analysis with AutoDock and AutoDock Vina, electrostatic calculations using PDB2PQR and APBS, and off-target analysis using SMAP. All the applications on the servers are powered by Opal, a toolkit that allows users to wrap scientific applications easily as web services without any modification to the scientific codes, by writing simple XML configuration files. Opal allows both web forms-based access and programmatic access of all our applications. The Opal toolkit currently supports SOAP-based Web service access to a number of popular applications from the National Biomedical Computation Resource (NBCR) and affiliated collaborative and service projects. In addition, Opal’s programmatic access capability allows our applications to be accessed through many workflow tools, including Vision, Kepler, Nimrod/K and VisTrails. From mid-August 2007 to the end of 2009, we have successfully executed 239 814 jobs. The number of successfully executed jobs more than doubled from 205 to 411 per day between 2008 and 2009. The Opal-enabled service model is useful for a wide range of applications. It provides for interoperation with other applications with Web Service interfaces, and allows application developers to focus on the scientific tool and workflow development. Web server availability: http://ws.nbcr.net.
NNScore is a neural-network-based scoring function designed to aid the computational identification of small-molecule ligands. While the test cases included in the original NNScore article demonstrated the utility of the program, the application examples were limited. The purpose of the current work is to further confirm that neural-network scoring functions are effective, even when compared to the scoring functions of state-of-the-art docking programs, such as AutoDock, the most commonly cited program, and AutoDock Vina, thought to be two orders of magnitude faster. Aside from providing additional validation of the original NNScore function, we here present a second neural-network scoring function, NNScore 2.0. NNScore 2.0 considers many more binding characteristics when predicting affinity than does the original NNScore. The network output of NNScore 2.0 also differs from that of NNScore 1.0; rather than a binary classification of ligand potency, NNScore 2.0 provides a single estimate of the pKd. To facilitate use, NNScore 2.0 has been implemented as an open-source python script. A copy can be obtained from http://www.nbcr.net/software/nnscore/.
AutoDock Vina, a new program for molecular docking and virtual screening, is presented. AutoDock Vina achieves an approximately two orders of magnitude speed-up compared to the molecular docking software previously developed in our lab (AutoDock 4), while also significantly improving the accuracy of the binding mode predictions, judging by our tests on the training set used in AutoDock 4 development. Further speed-up is achieved from parallelism, by using multithreading on multi-core machines. AutoDock Vina automatically calculates the grid maps and clusters the results in a way transparent to the user.
Inhibitors of the transmembrane protein sarco/endoplasmic reticulum calcium ATPase (SERCA) are invaluable tools for the study of the enzyme’s physiological functions and they have been recognized as a promising new class of anticancer agents. For the discovery of novel enzyme inhibitors, small molecule docking for virtual screens of large compound libraries has become increasingly important. Since the performance of various docking routines varies considerably, depending on the target and the chemical nature of the ligand, we critically evaluated the performance of four frequently used programs – GOLD, AutoDock, Surflex-Dock, and FRED – for the docking of SERCA inhibitors based on the structures of thapsigargin, di-tert-butylhydroquinone, and cyclopiazonic acid. Evaluation criteria were docking accuracy using crystal structures as references, docking reproducibility, and correlation between docking scores and known bioactivities. The best overall results were obtained by GOLD and FRED. Docking runs with conformationally flexible binding sites produced no significant improvement of the results.
computational docking; scoring function; inhibitory potency; calcium pump; thapsigargin; di-tert-butylhydroquinone; cyclopiazonic acid; inhibitor binding site
The role of the aldose reductase in type 2 diabetes is widely described. Therefore, it is of interest to identify plant derived
compounds to inhibit its activity. We studied the protein-ligand interaction of 267 compounds from different parts of seven plants
(Allium sativum, Coriandrum sativum, Dacus carota, Murrayyakoneigii, Eucalyptus, Calendula officinalis and Lycopersicon
esculentum) with aldose reductase as the target protein. Molecular docking and re-scoring of top ten compounds (using GOLD,
AutoDock Vina, eHiTS, PatchDock and MEDock) followed by rank-sum technique identified compound allium38 with high
binding affinity for aldose reductase.
Computer aided drug design; Type 2 diabetes; Molecular docking; Aldose reductase
Importance to the field
Virtual screening is a computer-based technique for identifying promising compounds to bind to a target molecule of known structure. Given the rapidly increasing number of protein and nucleic acid structures, virtual screening continues to grow as an effective method for the discovery of new inhibitors and drug molecules.
Areas covered in this review
We describe virtual screening methods that are available in the AutoDock suite of programs, and several of our successes in using AutoDock virtual screening in pharmaceutical lead discovery.
What the reader will gain
A general overview of the challenges of virtual screening is presented, along with the tools available in the AutoDock suite of programs for addressing these challenges.
Take home message
Virtual screening is an effective tool for the discovery of compounds for use as leads in drug discovery, and the free, open source program AutoDock is an effective tool for virtual screening.
virtual screening; computer-aided drug design; computational docking; AutoDock
Cytochrome P450 enzymes are responsible for metabolizing many endogenous and xenobiotic molecules encountered by the human body. It has been estimated that 75% of all drugs are metabolized by cytochrome P450 enzymes. Thus, predicting a compound s potential sites of metabolism (SOM) is highly advantageous early in the drug development process. We have combined molecular dynamics, AutoDock Vina docking, the neighboring atom type (NAT) reactivity model, and a solvent-accessible surface-area term to form a reactivity-accessibility model capable of predicting SOM for cytochrome P450 2C9 substrates. To investigate the importance of protein flexibility during the ligand binding process, the results of SOM prediction using a static protein structure for docking were compared to SOM prediction using multiple protein structures in ensemble docking. The results reported here indicate that ensemble docking increases the number of ligands that can be docked in a bioactive conformation (ensemble: 96%, static: 85%) but only leads to a slight improvement (49% vs. 44%) in predicting an experimentally known SOM in the top-1 position for a ligand library of 75 CYP2C9 substrates. Using ensemble docking, the reactivity-accessibility model accurately predicts SOM in the top-1 ranked position for 49% of the ligand library and considering the top-3 predicted sites increases the prediction success rate to approximately 70% of the ligand library. Further classifying the substrate library according to Km values leads to an improvement in SOM prediction for substrates with low Km values (57% at top-1). While the current predictive power of the reactivity-accessibility model still leaves significant room for improvement, the results illustrate the usefulness of this method to identify key protein-ligand interactions and guide structural modifications of the ligand to increase its metabolic stability.
CYP2C9; metabolism; docking; protein flexibility; computational chemistry
The prediction of the binding free energy between a ligand and a protein is an important component in the virtual screening and lead optimization of ligands for drug discovery. To determine the quality of current binding free energy estimation programs, we examined FlexX, X-Score, AutoDock and BLEEP for their performance in binding free energy prediction in various situations including co-crystallized complex structures, cross docking of ligands to their non-co-crystallized receptors, docking of thermally unfolded receptor decoys to their ligands and complex structures with “randomized” ligand decoys. In no case was there a satisfactory correlation between the experimental and estimated binding free energies over all the datasets tested. Meanwhile, a strong correlation between ligand molecular weight-binding affinity correlation and experimental-predicted binding affinity correlation was found. Sometimes the programs also correctly ranked ligands’ binding affinities even though native interactions between the ligands and their receptors were essentially lost due to receptor deformation or ligand randomization, and the programs could not decisively discriminate randomized ligand decoys from their native ligands; this suggested that the tested programs miss important components for the accurate capture of specific ligand binding interactions.
cross docking; binding free energy; AutoDock; X-Score; FlexX; BLEEP; rigid-receptor docking; unfolded receptor decoy; randomized ligand decoy
Water plays a critical role in ligand-protein interactions. However, it is still challenging to predict accurately not only where water molecules prefer to bind, but also which of those water molecules might be displaceable. The latter is often seen as a route to optimizing affinity of potential drug candidates. Using a protocol we call WaterDock, we show that the freely available AutoDock Vina tool can be used to predict accurately the binding sites of water molecules. WaterDock was validated using data from X-ray crystallography, neutron diffraction and molecular dynamics simulations and correctly predicted 97% of the water molecules in the test set. In addition, we combined data-mining, heuristic and machine learning techniques to develop probabilistic water molecule classifiers. When applied to WaterDock predictions in the Astex Diverse Set of protein ligand complexes, we could identify whether a water molecule was conserved or displaced to an accuracy of 75%. A second model predicted whether water molecules were displaced by polar groups or by non-polar groups to an accuracy of 80%. These results should prove useful for anyone wishing to undertake rational design of new compounds where the displacement of water molecules is being considered as a route to improved affinity.
Near-native selections from docking decoys have proved challenging especially when unbound proteins are used in the molecular docking. One reason is that significant atomic clashes in docking decoys lead to poor predictions of binding affinities of near native decoys. Atomic clashes can be removed by structural refinement through energy minimization. Such an energy minimization, however, will lead to an unrealistic bias toward docked structures with large interfaces. Here, we extend an empirical energy function developed for protein design to protein–protein docking selection by introducing a simple reference state that removes the unrealistic dependence of binding affinity of docking decoys on the buried solvent accessible surface area of interface. The energy function called EMPIRE (EMpirical Protein-InteRaction Energy), when coupled with a refinement strategy, is found to provide a significantly improved success rate in near native selections when applied to RosettaDock and refined ZDOCK docking decoys. Our work underlines the importance of removing nonspecific interactions from specific ones in near native selections from docking decoys.
knowledge-based potential; energy score functions; reference state; binding affinity; docking decoys
The implementation of a novel sequential computational approach that can be used effectively for virtual screening and identification of prospective ligands that bind to trypanothione reductase (TryR) is reported. The multistep strategy combines a ligand-based virtual screening for building an enriched library of small molecules with a docking protocol (AutoDock, X-Score) for screening against the TryR target. Compounds were ranked by an exhaustive conformational consensus scoring approach that employs a rank-by-rank strategy by combining both scoring functions. Analysis of the predicted ligand−protein interactions highlights the role of bulky quaternary amine moieties for binding affinity. The scaffold hopping (SHOP) process derived from this computational approach allowed the identification of several chemotypes, not previously reported as antiprotozoal agents, which includes dibenzothiepine, dibenzooxathiepine, dibenzodithiepine, and polycyclic cationic structures like thiaazatetracyclo-nonadeca-hexaen-3-ium. Assays measuring the inhibiting effect of these compounds on T. cruzi and T. brucei TryR confirm their potential for further rational optimization.
Ligands of the thiazolidinedione (TZD) class of compounds, pioglitazone (Actos™) and rosiglitazone (Avandia™) are currently approved for treatment of type 2 diabetes and are known to bind to the PPAR-γ nuclear receptor subtype. Recent evidence suggesting PPAR-γ independent action of the TZDs led to the discovery of a novel integral outer mitochondrial membrane protein, mitoNEET. In spite of the several reported X-ray crystal structures of the unbound form of mitoNEET, the location and nature of the mitoNEET ligand binding sites (LBS) remain unknown. In this study, a molecular blind docking (BD) method was used to discover potential mitoNEET LBS and novel ligands, utilizing the program AutoDock Vina (v 1.0.2). Validation of BD was performed on the PPAR-γ receptor (PDB ID: 1ZGY) with the test compound rosiglitazone, demonstrating that the binding conformation of rosiglitazone determined by AutoDock Vina matches well with that of the cocrystallized ligand (root mean square deviation of the heavy atoms 1.45 Å). The locations and a general ligand binding interaction model for the LBS were determined, leading to the discovery of novel mitoNEET ligands. An in vitro fluorescence binding assay utilizing purified recombinant mitoNEET protein was used to determine the binding affinity of a predicted mitoNEET ligand, and the data obtained is in good agreement with AutoDock Vina results. The discovery of potential mitoNEET ligand binding sites and novel ligands, opens up the possibility for detailed structural studies of mitoNEET–ligand complexes, as well as rational design of novel ligands specifically targeted for mitoNEET.
Mitoneet; Autodock; Docking; Fluorescence; Iron–sulfur; Thiazolidinedione
Docking of small molecule compounds into the binding site of a receptor and estimating the binding affinity of the complex is an important part of the structure-based drug design process. For a thorough understanding of the structural principles that determine the strength of a protein/ligand complex both, an accurate and fast docking protocol and the ability to visualize binding geometries and interactions are mandatory. Here we present an interface between the popular molecular graphics system PyMOL and the molecular docking suites Autodock and Vina and demonstrate how the combination of docking and visualization can aid structure-based drug design efforts.
Docking; Virtual screening; Autodock; Vina; PyMOL
In modeling ligand-protein interactions, the representation and role of water is of great importance. We introduce a forcefield and hydration docking method that enables the automated prediction of waters mediating the binding of ligands with target proteins. The method presumes no prior knowledge of the apo or holo protein hydration state, and is potentially useful in the process of structure-based drug discovery. The hydration forcefield accounts for the entropic and enthalpic contributions of discrete waters to ligand binding, improving energy estimation accuracy and docking performance. The forcefield has been calibrated and validated on a total of 417 complexes (197 training set; 220 test set), then tested in cross-docking experiments, for a total of 1649 ligand-protein complexes evaluated. The method is computationally efficient and was used to model up to 35 waters during docking. The method was implemented and tested using unaltered AutoDock4 with new forcefield tables.
Molecular docking methods are commonly used for predicting binding modes and energies of ligands to proteins. For accurate complex geometry and binding energy estimation, an appropriate method for calculating partial charges is essential. AutoDockTools software, the interface for preparing input files for one of the most widely used docking programs AutoDock 4, utilizes the Gasteiger partial charge calculation method for both protein and ligand charge calculation. However, it has already been shown that more accurate partial charge calculation - and as a consequence, more accurate docking- can be achieved by using quantum chemical methods. For docking calculations quantum chemical partial charge calculation as a routine was only used for ligands so far. The newly developed Mozyme function of MOPAC2009 allows fast partial charge calculation of proteins by quantum mechanical semi-empirical methods. Thus, in the current study, the effect of semi-empirical quantum-mechanical partial charge calculation on docking accuracy could be investigated.
The docking accuracy of AutoDock 4 using the original AutoDock scoring function was investigated on a set of 53 protein ligand complexes using Gasteiger and PM6 partial charge calculation methods. This has enabled us to compare the effect of the partial charge calculation method on docking accuracy utilizing AutoDock 4 software. Our results showed that the docking accuracy in regard to complex geometry (docking result defined as accurate when the RMSD of the first rank docking result complex is within 2 Å of the experimentally determined X-ray structure) significantly increased when partial charges of the ligands and proteins were calculated with the semi-empirical PM6 method.
Out of the 53 complexes analyzed in the course of our study, the geometry of 42 complexes were accurately calculated using PM6 partial charges, while the use of Gasteiger charges resulted in only 28 accurate geometries. The binding affinity estimation was not influenced by the partial charge calculation method - for more accurate binding affinity prediction development of a new scoring function for AutoDock is needed.
Our results demonstrate that the accuracy of determination of complex geometry using AutoDock 4 for docking calculation greatly increases with the use of quantum chemical partial charge calculation on both the ligands and proteins.
Computational simulation of protein-protein docking can expedite the process of molecular modeling and drug discovery. This paper reports on our new F2 Dock protocol which improves the state of the art in initial stage rigid body exhaustive docking search, scoring and ranking by introducing improvements in the shape-complementarity and electrostatics affinity functions, a new knowledge-based interface propensity term with FFT formulation, a set of novel knowledge-based filters and finally a solvation energy (GBSA) based reranking technique. Our algorithms are based on highly efficient data structures including the dynamic packing grids and octrees which significantly speed up the computations and also provide guaranteed bounds on approximation error.
The improved affinity functions show superior performance compared to their traditional counterparts in finding correct docking poses at higher ranks. We found that the new filters and the GBSA based reranking individually and in combination significantly improve the accuracy of docking predictions with only minor increase in computation time. We compared F2 Dock 2.0 with ZDock 3.0.2 and found improvements over it, specifically among 176 complexes in ZLab Benchmark 4.0, F2 Dock 2.0 finds a near-native solution as the top prediction for 22 complexes; where ZDock 3.0.2 does so for 13 complexes. F2 Dock 2.0 finds a near-native solution within the top 1000 predictions for 106 complexes as opposed to 104 complexes for ZDock 3.0.2. However, there are 17 and 15 complexes where F2 Dock 2.0 finds a solution but ZDock 3.0.2 does not and vice versa; which indicates that the two docking protocols can also complement each other.
The docking protocol has been implemented as a server with a graphical client (TexMol) which allows the user to manage multiple docking jobs, and visualize the docked poses and interfaces. Both the server and client are available for download. Server: http://www.cs.utexas.edu/~bajaj/cvc/software/f2dock.shtml. Client: http://www.cs.utexas.edu/~bajaj/cvc/software/f2dockclient.shtml.
Virtual (computational) screening is an increasingly important tool for drug discovery. AutoDock is a popular open-source application for performing molecular docking, the prediction of ligand-receptor interactions. AutoDock is a serial application, though several previous efforts have parallelized various aspects of the program. In this paper, we report on a multi-level parallelization of AutoDock 4.2 (mpAD4).
Using MPI and OpenMP, AutoDock 4.2 was parallelized for use on MPI-enabled systems and to multithread the execution of individual docking jobs. In addition, code was implemented to reduce input/output (I/O) traffic by reusing grid maps at each node from docking to docking. Performance of mpAD4 was examined on two multiprocessor computers.
Using MPI with OpenMP multithreading, mpAD4 scales with near linearity on the multiprocessor systems tested. In situations where I/O is limiting, reuse of grid maps reduces both system I/O and overall screening time. Multithreading of AutoDock's Lamarkian Genetic Algorithm with OpenMP increases the speed of execution of individual docking jobs, and when combined with MPI parallelization can significantly reduce the execution time of virtual screens. This work is significant in that mpAD4 speeds the execution of certain molecular docking workloads and allows the user to optimize the degree of system-level (MPI) and node-level (OpenMP) parallelization to best fit both workloads and computational resources.
Protein-DNA docking is a very challenging problem in structural bioinformatics and has important implications in a number of applications, such as structure-based prediction of transcription factor binding sites and rational drug design. Protein-DNA docking is very computational demanding due to the high cost of energy calculation and the statistical nature of conformational sampling algorithms. More importantly, experiments show that the docking quality depends on the coverage of the conformational sampling space. It is therefore desirable to accelerate the computation of the docking algorithm, not only to reduce computing time, but also to improve docking quality.
In an attempt to accelerate the sampling process and to improve the docking performance, we developed a graphics processing unit (GPU)-based protein-DNA docking algorithm. The algorithm employs a potential-based energy function to describe the binding affinity of a protein-DNA pair, and integrates Monte-Carlo simulation and a simulated annealing method to search through the conformational space. Algorithmic techniques were developed to improve the computation efficiency and scalability on GPU-based high performance computing systems.
The effectiveness of our approach is tested on a non-redundant set of 75 TF-DNA complexes and a newly developed TF-DNA docking benchmark. We demonstrated that the GPU-based docking algorithm can significantly accelerate the simulation process and thereby improving the chance of finding near-native TF-DNA complex structures. This study also suggests that further improvement in protein-DNA docking research would require efforts from two integral aspects: improvement in computation efficiency and energy function design.
We present a high performance computing approach for improving the prediction accuracy of protein-DNA docking. The GPU-based docking algorithm accelerates the search of the conformational space and thus increases the chance of finding more near-native structures. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first ad hoc effort of applying GPU or GPU clusters to the protein-DNA docking problem.
Molecular-docking-based virtual screening is an important tool in drug discovery that is used to significantly reduce the number of possible chemical compounds to be investigated. In addition to the selection of a sound docking strategy with appropriate scoring functions, another technical challenge is to in silico screen millions of compounds in a reasonable time. To meet this challenge, it is necessary to use high performance computing (HPC) platforms and techniques. However, the development of an integrated HPC system that makes efficient use of its elements is not trivial.
We have developed an application termed DOVIS that uses AutoDock (version 3) as the docking engine and runs in parallel on a Linux cluster. DOVIS can efficiently dock large numbers (millions) of small molecules (ligands) to a receptor, screening 500 to 1,000 compounds per processor per day. Furthermore, in DOVIS, the docking session is fully integrated and automated in that the inputs are specified via a graphical user interface, the calculations are fully integrated with a Linux cluster queuing system for parallel processing, and the results can be visualized and queried.
DOVIS removes most of the complexities and organizational problems associated with large-scale high-throughput virtual screening, and provides a convenient and efficient solution for AutoDock users to use this software in a Linux cluster platform.
Virtual compound screening using molecular docking is widely used in the discovery of new lead compounds for drug design. However, the docking scores are not sufficiently precise to represent the protein-ligand binding affinity. Here, we developed an efficient computational method for calculating protein-ligand binding affinity, which is based on molecular mechanics generalized Born/surface area (MM-GBSA) calculations and Jarzynski identity. Jarzynski identity is an exact relation between free energy differences and the work done through non-equilibrium process, and MM-GBSA is a semimacroscopic approach to calculate the potential energy. To calculate the work distribution when a ligand is pulled out of its binding site, multiple protein-ligand conformations are randomly generated as an alternative to performing an explicit single-molecule pulling simulation. We assessed the new method, multiple random conformation/MM-GBSA (MRC-MMGBSA), by evaluating ligand-binding affinities (scores) for four target proteins, and comparing these scores with experimental data. The calculated scores were qualitatively in good agreement with the experimental binding affinities, and the optimal docking structure could be determined by ranking the scores of the multiple docking poses obtained by the molecular docking process. Furthermore, the scores showed a strong linear response to experimental binding free energies, so that the free energy difference of the ligand binding (ΔΔG) could be calculated by linear scaling of the scores. The error of calculated ΔΔG was within ≈±1.5 kcal•mol−1 of the experimental values. Particularly, in the case of flexible target proteins, the MRC-MMGBSA scores were more effective in ranking ligands than those generated by the MM-GBSA method using a single protein-ligand conformation. The results suggest that, owing to its lower computational costs and greater accuracy, the MRC-MMGBSA offers efficient means to rank the ligands, in the post-docking process, according to their binding affinities, and to compare these directly with the experimental values.
The design of novel α-helix mimetic inhibitors of protein-protein interactions is of interest to pharmaceuticals and chemical genetics researchers as these inhibitors provide a chemical scaffold presenting side chains in the same geometry as an α-helix. This conformational arrangement allows the design of high affinity inhibitors mimicking known peptide sequences binding specific protein substrates. We show that GAFF and AutoDock potentials do not properly capture the conformational preferences of α-helix mimetics based on arylamide oligomers and identify alternate parameters matching solution NMR data and suitable for molecular dynamics simulation of arylamide compounds. Results from both docking and molecular dynamics simulations are consistent with the arylamides binding in the p53 peptide binding pocket. Simulations of arylamides in the p53 binding pocket of hDM2 are consistent with binding, exhibiting similar structural dynamics in the pocket as simulations of known hDM2 binders Nutlin-2 and a benzodiazepinedione compound. Arylamide conformations converge towards the same region of the binding pocket on the 20 ns time scale, and most, though not all dihedrals in the binding pocket are well sampled on this timescale. We show that there are two putative classes of binding modes for arylamide compounds supported equally by the modeling evidence. In the first, the arylamide compound lies parallel to the observed p53 helix. In the second class, not previously identified or proposed, the arylamide compound lies anti-parallel to the p53 helix.
A convenient synthesis of novel isoxazole-substituted 9-anilinoacridine derivatives 5a–j was reported. The compounds were confirmed by physical and analytical data and screened for in vitro antioxidant activity by DPPH method, reducing power assay and total antioxidant capacity method. The cytotoxic activity of the compounds was also studied in HEp-2 cell line. The docking studies of the synthesized compounds were performed towards the key nucleoside dsDNA by using AutoDock vina 4.0 programme. All the isoxazole-substituted compounds have significant activities.