Ligand-Enhanced Negative Images Optimized for Docking Rescoring

Sami Kurkinen, Jukka V. Lehtonen, Olli Pentikäinen, Pekka Postila*

*Korresponderande författare för detta arbete

Forskningsoutput: TidskriftsbidragArtikelVetenskapligPeer review

1 Citeringar (Scopus)
1 Nedladdningar (Pure)


Despite the pivotal role of molecular docking in modern drug discovery, the default docking scoring functions often fail to recognize active ligands in virtual screening campaigns. Negative image-based rescoring improves docking enrichment by comparing the shape/electrostatic potential (ESP) of the flexible docking poses against the target protein’s inverted cavity volume. By optimizing these negative image-based (NIB) models using a greedy search, the docking rescoring yield can be improved massively and consistently. Here, a fundamental modification is implemented to this shape-focused pharmacophore modelling approach—actual ligand 3D coordinates are incorporated into the NIB models for the optimization. This hybrid approach, labelled as ligand-enhanced brute-force negative image-based optimization (LBR-NiB), takes the best from both worlds, i.e., the all-roundedness of the NIB models and the difficult to emulate atomic arrangements of actual protein-bound small-molecule ligands. Thorough benchmarking, focused on proinflammatory targets, shows that the LBR-NiB routinely improves the docking enrichment over prior iterations of the R-NiB methodology. This boost can be massive, if the added ligand information provides truly essential binding information that was lacking or completely missing from the cavity-based NIB model. On a practical level, the results indicate that the LBR-NiB typically works well when the added ligand 3D data originates from a high-quality source, such as X-ray crystallography, and, yet, the NIB model compositions can also sometimes be improved by fusing into them, for example, with flexibly docked solvent molecules. In short, the study demonstrates that the protein-bound ligands can be used to improve the shape/ESP features of the negative images for effective docking rescoring use in virtual screening.
TidskriftInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
StatusPublicerad - 17 juli 2022
MoE-publikationstypA1 Tidskriftsartikel-refererad


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