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J Med Chem. 2012 Mar 8;55(5):1926-39. doi: 10.1021/jm200979x. Epub 2012 Feb 17.

Identification of binding specificity-determining features in protein families.

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  • 1Sandia National Laboratories, Box 969, MS 9291, Livermore, California 94551, USA.


We present a new approach for identifying features of ligand-protein binding interfaces that predict binding selectivity and demonstrate its effectiveness for predicting kinase inhibitor specificity. We analyzed a large set of human kinases and kinase inhibitors using clustering of experimentally determined inhibition constants (to define specificity classes of kinases and inhibitors) and virtual ligand docking (to extract structural and chemical features of the ligand-protein binding interfaces). We then used statistical methods to identify features characteristic of each class. Machine learning was employed to determine which combinations of characteristic features were predictive of class membership and to predict binding specificities and affinities of new compounds. Experiments showed predictions were 70% accurate. These results show that our method can automatically pinpoint on the three-dimensional binding interfaces pharmacophore-like features that act as "selectivity filters". The method is not restricted to kinases, requires no prior hypotheses about specific interactions, and can be applied to any protein families for which sets of structures and ligand binding data are available.

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