Weighted geometric docking: Incorporating external information in the rotation-translation scan



Weighted geometric docking is a prediction algorithm that matches weighted molecular surfaces. Each molecule is represented by a grid of complex numbers, storing information about the shape of the molecule in the real part and weight information in the imaginary part. The weights are based on experimental biochemical and biophysical data or on theoretical analyses of amino acid conservation or correlation patterns in multiple-sequence alignments of homologous proteins. Only a few surface residues on either one or both molecules are weighted. In contrast to methods that use postscan filtering based on biochemical information, our method incorporates the external data in the rotation-translation search, producing a different set of docking solutions biased toward solutions in which the up-weighted residues are at the interface. Similarly, interactions involving specified residues can be impeded. The weighted geometric algorithm was applied to five systems for which regular geometric docking of the unbound molecules gave poor results. We obtained much better ranking of the nearly correct prediction and higher statistical significance when weighted geometric docking was used. The method was successful even when the weighted portion of the surface corresponded only partially and approximately to the binding site. Proteins 2003;52:24–27. © 2003 Wiley-Liss, Inc.