Protein-specific Scoring Method for Ligand Discovery.
Abstract Protein-based virtual screening plays an important role in modern drug discovery process. Most protein-based virtual screening experiments are carried out with docking programs. The accuracy of a docking program highly relies on the incorporated scoring function based on various energy terms. The existing scoring functions deal all the energy terms with the equal weight function or other weight function derived by physical characteristics. These existing scoring functions are not protein dependent. We expect that a protein-specific scoring function, which can reflect the protein characteristics, may improve the docking results. Therefore, we propose a protein-specific rescoring approach to select potential ligands by adjusting the weights of energy terms. The protein-specific scoring function is based on the linear regression analysis associated with an outlier detection approach. The scoring function incorporated in DOCK program is used as the model system. The performance of our method was evaluated by the DUD docked data set, which contains 40 protein targets. The study results show that this method can improve the enrichment factors for most of the 40 protein targets. We further expend the protein-specific scoring function to a larger database, and the results also show significant improvement. Our method is not limited to improving the DOCK scoring function. It can be adopted to improve other programs such as GOLD and Glide. We believe that this method can be applied to virtual screening experiments and elevates the hits rate significantly, which can be beneficial to the modern drug discovery process.