UNIT 8.14 Using AutoDock for Ligand-Receptor Docking

  1. Garrett M. Morris,
  2. Ruth Huey,
  3. Arthur J. Olson

Published Online: 1 DEC 2008

DOI: 10.1002/0471250953.bi0814s24

Current Protocols in Bioinformatics

Current Protocols in Bioinformatics

How to Cite

Morris, G. M., Huey, R. and Olson, A. J. 2008. Using AutoDock for Ligand-Receptor Docking. Current Protocols in Bioinformatics. 24:8.14:8.14.1–8.14.40.

Author Information

  1. The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, California

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 1 DEC 2008
  2. Published Print: DEC 2008


This unit describes how to set up and analyze ligand-protein docking calculations using AutoDock and the graphical user interface, AutoDockTools (ADT). The AutoDock scoring function is a subset of the AMBER force field that treats molecules using the United Atom model. The unit uses an X-ray crystal structure of Indinavir bound to HIV-1 protease taken from the Protein Data Bank (unit 1.9) and shows how to prepare the ligand and receptor for AutoGrid, which computes grid maps needed by AutoDock. Indinavir is prepared for AutoDock, adding the polar hydrogens, and partial charges, and defining the rotatable bonds that will be explored during the docking. The input files for AutoGrid and AutoDock are created, and then the grid map calculation run, followed by the docking calculation in AutoDock. Finally, this unit describes some of the ways the results can be analyzed using AutoDockTools. Curr. Protoc. Bioinform. 24:8.14.1-8.14.40. © 2008 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.


  • AutoDock;
  • protein-ligand docking;
  • virtual screening;
  • computer-aided drug design