Ranking Targets in Structure-Based Virtual Screening of Three-Dimensional Protein Libraries: Methods and Problems

publication · 7 years ago
by Nicolas Foata, Esther Kellenberger, Didier Rognan (Université de Strasbourg)
Structure-based virtual screening is a promising tool to identify putative targets for a specific ligand. Instead of docking multiple ligands into a single protein cavity, a single ligand is docked in a collection of binding sites. In inverse screening, hits are in fact targets which have been prioritized within the pool of best ranked proteins. The target rate depends on specificity and promiscuity in protein–ligand interactions and, to a considerable extent, on the effectiveness of the scoring function, which still is the Achilles’ heel of molecular docking. In the present retrospective study, virtual screening of the sc-PDB target library by GOLD docking was carried out for four compounds (biotin, 4-hydroxy-tamoxifen, 6-hydroxy-1,6-dihydropurine ribonucleoside, and methotrexate) of known sc-PDB targets and, several ranking protocols based on GOLD fitness score and topological molecular interaction fingerprint (IFP) comparison were evaluated. For the four investigated ligands, the fusion of GOLD fitness and two IFP scores allowed the recovery of most targets, including the rare proteins which are not readily suitable for statistical analysis, while significantly filtering out most false positive entries. The current survey suggests that selecting a small number of targets (<20) for experimental evaluation is achievable with a pure structure-based approach.
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