Scoring functions for protein docking and drug design
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Predicting the structure of complexes formed by two interacting proteins is an important problem in computation structural biology. Proteins perform many of their functions by binding to other proteins. The structure of protein-protein complexes provides atomic details about protein function and biochemical pathways, and can help in designing drugs that inhibit binding. Docking computationally models the structure of protein-protein complexes, given three-dimensional structures of the individual chains. Protein docking methods have two phases. In the first phase, a comprehensive, coarse search is performed for optimally docked models. In the second refinement and reranking phase, the models from the first phase are refined and reranked, with the expectation of extracting a small set of accurate models from the pool of thousands of models obtained from the first phase. In this thesis, new algorithms are developed for the refinement and reranking phase of docking. New scoring functions, or potentials, that rank models are developed. These potentials are learnt using large-scale machine learning methods based on mathematical programming. The procedure for learning these potentials involves examining hundreds of thousands of correct and incorrect models. In this thesis, hierarchical constraints were introduced into the learning algorithm. First, an atomic potential was developed using this learning procedure. A refinement procedure involving side-chain remodeling and conjugate gradient-based minimization was introduced. The refinement procedure combined with the atomic potential was shown to improve docking accuracy significantly. Second, a hydrogen bond potential, was developed. Molecular dynamics-based sampling combined with the hydrogen bond potential improved docking predictions. Third, mathematical programming compared favorably to SVMs and neural networks in terms of accuracy, training and test time for the task of designing potentials to rank docking models. The methods described in this thesis are implemented in the docking package DOCK/PIERR. DOCK/PIERR was shown to be among the best automated docking methods in community wide assessments. Finally, DOCK/PIERR was extended to predict membrane protein complexes. A membrane-based score was added to the reranking phase, and shown to improve the accuracy of docking. This docking algorithm for membrane proteins was used to study the dimers of amyloid precursor protein, implicated in Alzheimer's disease.R. DOCK/PIERR was shown to be among the best automated docking methods in community wide assessments. Finally, DOCK/PIERR was extended to predict membrane protein complexes. A membrane-based score was added to the reranking phase, and shown to improve the accuracy of docking. This docking algorithm for membrane proteins was used to study the dimers of amyloid precursor protein, implicated in Alzheimer’s disease.
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