ATTRACT: protein-protein docking in CAPRI using a reduced protein model.
Protein-protein complex structures have been predicted for CAPRI Rounds 3 and 5 using a reduced protein model. Proteins are represented by up to 3 pseudoatoms per amino acid. The docking approach termed ATTRACT is based on energy minimization in translational and rotational degrees of freedom of one protein with respect to another protein. The reduced protein model allows one to perform systematic docking minimization of many thousand start structures in reasonable computer time. Flexibility of critical surface side-chains can be accounted for by a multiple conformational copy approach. The multicopy approach allows simultaneous adjustment of side-chain conformations and optimization of translational and rotational degrees of freedom of one protein with respect to the partner during docking. For 3 (Targets 8, 14, and 19) out of 5 CAPRI targets, the approach resulted in predictions in close agreement with experiment [root-mean-square deviation (RMSD) of backbone atoms within 10 A of the protein-protein interface < 1.8 A]. The comparison of predicted and experimental structures of the CAPRI targets indicates that besides local conformational changes (e.g., changes in side-chain conformations), global conformational changes of the protein backbone can be critical for complex formation. These conformational changes not accounted for during docking are a likely reason for the unrealistic predictions in 2 cases (Targets 9 and 18).