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Proteins. 2003 Jan 1;50(1):5-25.

Protein-based virtual screening of chemical databases. II. Are homology models of G-Protein Coupled Receptors suitable targets?

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Laboratoire de Pharmacochimie de la Communication Cellulaire, UMR CNRS 7081, 74 route du Rhin, B.P. 24, F-67401 Illkirch, France.


The aim of the current study is to investigate whether homology models of G-Protein-Coupled Receptors (GPCRs) that are based on bovine rhodopsin are reliable enough to be used for virtual screening of chemical databases. Starting from the recently described 2.8 A-resolution X-ray structure of bovine rhodopsin, homology models of an "antagonist-bound" form of three human GPCRs (dopamine D3 receptor, muscarinic M1 receptor, vasopressin V1a receptor) were constructed. The homology models were used to screen three-dimensional databases using three different docking programs (Dock, FlexX, Gold) in combination with seven scoring functions (ChemScore, Dock, FlexX, Fresno, Gold, Pmf, Score). Rhodopsin-based homology models turned out to be suitable, indeed, for virtual screening since known antagonists seeded in the test databases could be distinguished from randomly chosen molecules. However, such models are not accurate enough for retrieving known agonists. To generate receptor models better suited for agonist screening, we developed a new knowledge- and pharmacophore-based modeling procedure that might partly simulate the conformational changes occurring in the active site during receptor activation. Receptor coordinates generated by this new procedure are now suitable for agonist screening. We thus propose two alternative strategies for the virtual screening of GPCR ligands, relying on a different set of receptor coordinates (antagonist-bound and agonist-bound states).

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