FlexAID: Revisiting Docking on Non-Native-Complex Structures
journal contributionposted on 17.12.2015, 08:50 by Francis Gaudreault, Rafael J. Najmanovich
Small-molecule protein docking is an essential tool in drug design and to understand molecular recognition. In the present work we introduce FlexAID, a small-molecule docking algorithm that accounts for target side-chain flexibility and utilizes a soft scoring function, i.e. one that is not highly dependent on specific geometric criteria, based on surface complementarity. The pairwise energy parameters were derived from a large dataset of true positive poses and negative decoys from the PDBbind database through an iterative process using Monte Carlo simulations. The prediction of binding poses is tested using the widely used Astex dataset as well as the HAP2 dataset, while performance in virtual screening is evaluated using a subset of the DUD dataset. We compare FlexAID to AutoDock Vina, FlexX, and rDock in an extensive number of scenarios to understand the strengths and limitations of the different programs as well as to reported results for Glide, GOLD, and DOCK6 where applicable. The most relevant among these scenarios is that of docking on flexible non-native-complex structures where as is the case in reality, the target conformation in the bound form is not known a priori. We demonstrate that FlexAID, unlike other programs, is robust against increasing structural variability. FlexAID obtains equivalent sampling success as GOLD and performs better than AutoDock Vina or FlexX in all scenarios against non-native-complex structures. FlexAID is better than rDock when there is at least one critical side-chain movement required upon ligand binding. In virtual screening, FlexAID results are lower on average than those of AutoDock Vina and rDock. The higher accuracy in flexible targets where critical movements are required, intuitive PyMOL-integrated graphical user interface and free source code as well as precompiled executables for Windows, Linux, and Mac OS make FlexAID a welcome addition to the arsenal of existing small-molecule protein docking methods.