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1.  Robust Identification of Binding Hot Spots Using Continuum Electrostatics: Application to Hen Egg-White Lysozyme 
Journal of the American Chemical Society  2011;133(51):20668-20671.
Binding hot spots, protein regions with high binding affinity, can be identified by using X-ray crystallography or NMR spectroscopy to screen libraries of small organic molecules that tend to cluster at such hot spots. FTMap, a direct computational analogue of the experimental screening approaches, uses 16 different probe molecules for global sampling of the surface of a target protein on a dense grid and evaluates the energy of interaction using an empirical energy function that includes a continuum electrostatic term. Energy evaluation is based on the fast Fourier transform correlation approach, which allows for the sampling of billions of probe positions. The grid sampling is followed by off-grid minimization that uses a more detailed energy expression with a continuum electrostatics term. FTMap identifies the hot spots as consensus clusters formed by overlapping clusters of several probes. The hot spots are ranked on the basis of the number of probe clusters, which predicts their binding propensity. We applied FTMap to nine structures of hen egg-white lysozyme (HEWL), whose hot spots have been extensively studied by both experimental and computational methods. FTMap found the primary hot spot in site C of all nine structures, in spite of conformational differences. In addition, secondary hot spots in sites B and D that are known to be important for the binding of polysaccharide substrates were found. The predicted probe–protein interactions agree well with those seen in the complexes of HEWL with various ligands and also agree with an NMR-based study of HEWL in aqueous solutions of eight organic solvents. We argue that FTMap provides more complete information on the HEWL binding site than previous computational methods and yields fewer false-positive binding locations than the X-ray structures of HEWL from crystals soaked in organic solvents.
doi:10.1021/ja207914y
PMCID: PMC3244821  PMID: 22092261

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