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J Comput Chem. 2016 Mar 30;37(8):753-62. doi: 10.1002/jcc.24259. Epub 2015 Dec 21.

Flexible CDOCKER: Development and application of a pseudo-explicit structure-based docking method within CHARMM.

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Department of Chemistry, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan.


Protein-ligand docking is a commonly used method for lead identification and refinement. While traditional structure-based docking methods represent the receptor as a rigid body, recent developments have been moving toward the inclusion of protein flexibility. Proteins exist in an interconverting ensemble of conformational states, but effectively and efficiently searching the conformational space available to both the receptor and ligand remains a well-appreciated computational challenge. To this end, we have developed the Flexible CDOCKER method as an extension of the family of complete docking solutions available within CHARMM. This method integrates atomically detailed side chain flexibility with grid-based docking methods, maintaining efficiency while allowing the protein and ligand configurations to explore their conformational space simultaneously. This is in contrast to existing approaches that use induced-fit like sampling, such as Glide or Autodock, where the protein or the ligand space is sampled independently in an iterative fashion. Presented here are developments to the CHARMM docking methodology to incorporate receptor flexibility and improvements to the sampling protocol as demonstrated with re-docking trials on a subset of the CCDC/Astex set. These developments within CDOCKER achieve docking accuracy competitive with or exceeding the performance of other widely utilized docking programs.


in silico screening; protein-ligand; sampling

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