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posted on 05.03.2018, 04:22 by Irene Maffucci, Xiao Hu, Valentina Fumagalli, Alessandro Contini

Nwat-MMGBSA is a variant of MM-PB/GBSA based on the inclusion of a number of explicit water molecules that are the closest to the ligand in each frame of a molecular dynamics trajectory. This method demonstrated improved correlations between calculated and experimental binding energies in both protein-protein interactions and ligand-receptor complexes, in comparison to the standard MM-GBSA. A protocol optimization, aimed to maximize efficacy and efficiency, is discussed here considering penicillopepsin, HIV1-protease, and BCL-XL as test cases. Calculations were performed in triplicates on both classic HPC environments and on standard workstations equipped by a GPU card, evidencing no statistical differences in the results. No relevant differences in correlation to experiments were also observed when performing Nwat-MMGBSA calculations on 4 or 1 ns long trajectories. A fully automatic workflow for structure-based virtual screening, performing from library set-up to docking and Nwat-MMGBSA rescoring, has then been developed. The protocol has been tested against no rescoring or standard MM-GBSA rescoring within a retrospective virtual screening of inhibitors of AmpC β-lactamase and of the Rac1-Tiam1 protein-protein interaction. In both cases, Nwat-MMGBSA rescoring provided a statistically significant increase in the ROC AUCs of between 20 and 30%, compared to docking scoring or to standard MM-GBSA rescoring.