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Proteins. 2007 Aug 1;68(2):516-29.

Detection of pockets on protein surfaces using small and large probe spheres to find putative ligand binding sites.

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Graduate School of Information Science, Nara Institute of Science and Technology, Ikoma, Nara, Japan.


One of the simplest ways to predict ligand binding sites is to identify pocket-shaped regions on the protein surface. Many programs have already been proposed to identify these pocket regions. Examination of their algorithms revealed that a pocket intrinsically has two arbitrary properties, "size" and "depth". We proposed a new definition for pockets using two explicit adjustable parameters that correspond to these two arbitrary properties. A pocket region is defined as a space into which a small probe can enter, but a large probe cannot. The radii of small and large probe spheres are the two parameters that correspond to the "size" and "depth" of the pockets, respectively. These values can be adjusted individual putative ligand molecule. To determine the optimal value of the large probe spheres radius, we generated pockets for thousands of protein structures in the database, using several size of large probe spheres, examined the correspondence of these pockets with known binding site positions. A new measure of shallowness, a minimum inaccessible radius, R(inaccess), indicated that binding sites of coenzymes are very deep, while those for adenine/guanine mononucleotide have only medium shallowness and those for short peptides and oligosaccharides are shallow. The optimal radius of large probe spheres was 3-4 A for the coenzymes, 4 A for adenine/guanine mononucleotides, and 5 A or more for peptides/oligosaccharides. Comparison of our program with two other popular pocket-finding programs showed that our program had a higher performance of detecting binding pockets, although it required more computational time.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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