Identification of a Minimal Subset of Receptor Conformations for Improved Multiple Conformation Docking and Two-Step Scoring

Sukjoon Yoon, William J. Welsh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


Docking and scoring are critical issues in virtual drug screening methods. Fast and reliable methods are required for the prediction of binding affinity especially when applied to a large library of compounds, The implementation of receptor flexibility and refinement of scoring functions for this purpose are extremely challenging in terms of computational speed. Here we propose a knowledge-based multiple-conformation docking method that efficiently accommodates receptor flexibility thus permitting reliable virtual screening of large compound libraries. Starting with a small number of active compounds, a preliminary docking operation is conducted on a large ensemble of receptor conformations to select the minimal subset of receptor conformations that provides a strong correlation between the experimental binding affinity (e.g., K i, IC 50) and the docking score. Only this subset is used for subsequent multiple-conformation docking of the entire data set of library (test) compounds. In conjunction with the multiple-conformation docking procedure, a two-step scoring scheme is employed by which the optimal scoring geometries obtained from the multiple-conformation docking are re-scored by a molecular mechanics energy function including desolvation terms. To demonstrate the feasibility of this approach, we applied this integrated approach to the estrogen receptor a (ERα) system for which published binding affinity data were available for a series of structurally diverse chemicals. The statistical correlation between docking scores and experimental values was significantly improved from those of single-conformation dockings. This approach led to substantial enrichment of the virtual screening conducted on mixtures of active and inactive ERα compounds.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)88-96
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Chemical Information and Computer Sciences
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Information Systems
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computational Theory and Mathematics


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