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1 Critical Assessment of Scoring Schemes for Protein-Protein Docking Predictions

Authors: Dhananjay C. Joshi, Jung-Hsin Lin


Protein-protein interactions (PPI) play a crucial role in many biological processes such as cell signalling, transcription, translation, replication, signal transduction, and drug targeting, etc. Structural information about protein-protein interaction is essential for understanding the molecular mechanisms of these processes. Structures of protein-protein complexes are still difficult to obtain by biophysical methods such as NMR and X-ray crystallography, and therefore protein-protein docking computation is considered an important approach for understanding protein-protein interactions. However, reliable prediction of the protein-protein complexes is still under way. In the past decades, several grid-based docking algorithms based on the Katchalski-Katzir scoring scheme were developed, e.g., FTDock, ZDOCK, HADDOCK, RosettaDock, HEX, etc. However, the success rate of protein-protein docking prediction is still far from ideal. In this work, we first propose a more practical measure for evaluating the success of protein-protein docking predictions,the rate of first success (RFS), which is similar to the concept of mean first passage time (MFPT). Accordingly, we have assessed the ZDOCK bound and unbound benchmarks 2.0 and 3.0. We also createda new benchmark set for protein-protein docking predictions, in which the complexes have experimentally determined binding affinity data. We performed free energy calculation based on the solution of non-linear Poisson-Boltzmann equation (nlPBE) to improve the binding mode prediction. We used the well-studied thebarnase-barstarsystem to validate the parameters for free energy calculations. Besides,thenlPBE-based free energy calculations were conducted for the badly predicted cases by ZDOCK and ZRANK. We found that direct molecular mechanics energetics cannot be used to discriminate the native binding pose from the decoys.Our results indicate that nlPBE-based calculations appeared to be one of the promising approaches for improving the success rate of binding pose predictions.

Keywords: protein-protein docking, protein-protein interaction, molecular mechanics energetics, Poisson-Boltzmann calculations

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