Improving Protocols for Protein Mapping through Proper Comparison to Crystallography Data
Computational approaches to fragment-based drug design (FBDD) can complement experiments and facilitate the identification of potential hot spots along the protein surface. However, the evaluation of computational methods for mapping binding sites frequently focuses upon the ability to reproduce crystallographic coordinates to within a low RMSD threshold. This dependency on the deposited coordinate data overlooks the original electron density from the experiment, thus techniques may be developed based upon subjective?or even erroneous?atomic coordinates. This can become a significant drawback in applications to systems where the location of hot spots is unknown. On the basis of comparison to crystallographic density, we previously showed that mixed-solvent molecular dynamics (MixMD) accurately identifies the active site for HEWL, with acetonitrile as an organic solvent. Here, we concentrated on the influence of protic solvent on simulation and refined the optimal MixMD approach for extrapolation of the method to systems without established sites. Our results establish an accurate approach for comparing simulations to experiment. We have outlined the most efficient strategy for MixMD, based on simulation length and number of runs. The development outlined here makes MixMD a robust method which should prove useful across a broad range of target structures. Lastly, our results with MixMD match experimental data so well that consistency between simulations and density may be a useful way to aid the identification of probes vs waters during the refinement of future multiple solvent crystallographic structures.