American Chemical Society
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Unlocking Precision Docking for Metalloproteins

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journal contribution
posted on 2024-02-19, 20:13 authored by Camila M. Clemente, Juan M. Prieto, Marcelo Martí
Metalloproteins play a fundamental role in molecular biology, contributing to various biological processes. However, the discovery of high-affinity ligands targeting metalloproteins has been delayed due, in part, to a lack of suitable tools and data. Molecular docking, a widely used technique for virtual screening of small-molecule ligand interactions with proteins, often faces challenges when applied to metalloproteins due to the particular nature of the ligand metal bond. To address these limitations associated with docking metalloproteins, we introduce a knowledge-driven docking approach known as “metalloprotein bias docking” (MBD), which extends the AutoDock Bias technique. We assembled a comprehensive data set of metalloprotein–ligand complexes from 15 different metalloprotein families, encompassing Ca, Co, Fe, Mg, Mn, and Zn metal ions. Subsequently, we conducted a performance analysis of our MBD method and compared it to the conventional docking (CD) program AutoDock4, applied to various metalloprotein targets within our data set. Our results demonstrate that MBD outperforms CD, significantly enhancing accuracy, selectivity, and precision in ligand pose prediction. Additionally, we observed a positive correlation between our predicted ligand free energies and the corresponding experimental values. These findings underscore the potential of MBD as a valuable tool for the effective exploration of metalloprotein–ligand interactions.