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Proteins. 2003 Nov 15;53(3):693-707.

RDOCK: refinement of rigid-body protein docking predictions.

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Bioinformatics Program, Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts 02215, USA.


We present a simple and effective algorithm RDOCK for refining unbound predictions generated by a rigid-body docking algorithm ZDOCK, which has been developed earlier by our group. The main component of RDOCK is a three-stage energy minimization scheme, followed by the evaluation of electrostatic and desolvation energies. Ionic side chains are kept neutral in the first two stages of minimization, and reverted to their full charge states in the last stage of brief minimization. Without side chain conformational search or filtering/clustering of resulting structures, RDOCK represents the simplest approach toward refining unbound docking predictions. Despite its simplicity, RDOCK makes substantial improvement upon the top predictions by ZDOCK with all three scoring functions and the improvement is observed across all three categories of test cases in a large benchmark of 49 non-redundant unbound test cases. RDOCK makes the most powerful combination with ZDOCK2.1, which uses pairwise shape complementarity as the scoring function. Collectively, they rank a near-native structure as the number-one prediction for 18 test cases (37% of the benchmark), and within the top 4 predictions for 24 test cases (49% of the benchmark). To various degrees, funnel-like energy landscapes are observed for these 24 test cases. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report of binding funnels starting from global searches for a broad range of test cases. These results are particularly exciting, given that we have not used any biological information that is specific to individual test cases and the whole process is entirely automated. Among three categories of test cases, the best results are seen for enzyme/inhibitor, with a near-native structure ranked as the number-one prediction for 48% test cases, and within the top 10 predictions for 78% test cases. RDOCK is freely available to academic users at approximately rong/dock.

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