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Scoring optimisation of unbound protein–protein docking including protein binding site predictions


Martin Zacharias, Physik-Department T38, Technische Universität München, James Franck Str. 185748 Garching, Germany.



The prediction of the structure of the protein–protein complex is of great importance to better understand molecular recognition processes. During systematic protein–protein docking, the surface of a protein molecule is scanned for putative binding sites of a partner protein. The possibility to include external data based on either experiments or bioinformatic predictions on putative binding sites during docking has been systematically explored. The external data were included during docking with a coarse-grained protein model and on the basis of force field weights to bias the docking search towards a predicted or known binding region. The approach was tested on a large set of protein partners in unbound conformations. The significant improvement of the docking performance was found if reliable data on the native binding sites were available. This was possible even if data for single key amino acids at a binding interface are included. In case of binding site predictions with limited accuracy, only modest improvement compared with unbiased docking was found. The optimisation of the protocol to bias the search towards predicted binding sites was found to further improve the docking performance resulting in approximately 40% acceptable solutions within the top 10 docking predictions compared with 22% in case of unbiased docking of unbound protein structures. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.