Computational methods for prediction of protein-ligand interactions

  • Daniel Mucs

Student thesis: Phd


This thesis contains three main sections. In the first section, we examine methodologies to discriminate Type II protein kinase inhibitors from the Type I inhibitors. We have studied the structure of 55 Type II kinase inhibitors and have notice specific descriptive geometric features. Using this information we have developed a pharmacophore and a shape based screening approach. We have found that these methods did not effectively discriminate between the two inhibitor types used independently, but when combined in a consecutive way - pharmacophore search first, then shape based screening, we have found a method that successfully filtered out all Type I molecules. The effect of protonation states and using different conformer generators were studied as well. This method was then tested on a freely available database of decoy molecules and again shown to be discriminative. In the second section of the thesis, we implement and assess swarm-based docking methods. We implement a repulsive particle swarm optimization (RPSO) based conformational search approach into Autodock 3.05. The performance of this approach with different parameters was then tested on a set of 51 protein ligand complexes. The effect of using different factoring for the cognitive, social and repulsive terms and the importance of the inertia weight were explored. We found that the RPSO method gives similar performance to the particle swarm optimization method. Compared to the genetic algorithm approach used in Autodock 3.05, our RPSO method gives better results in terms of finding lower energy conformations. In the final, third section we have implemented a Monte Carlo (MC) based conformer searching approach into Gaussian03. This enables high level quantum mechanics/molecular mechanics (QM/MM) potentials to be used in docking molecules in a protein active site. This program was tested on two Zn2+ ion-containing complexes, carbonic anhydrase II and cytidine deaminase. The effects of different QM region definitions were explored in both systems. A consecutive and a parallel docking approach were used to study the volume of the active site explored by the MC search algorithm. In case of the carbonic anhydrase II complex, we have used 1,2-difluorobenzene as a ligand to explore the favourable interactions within the binding site. With the cytidine deaminase complex, we have evaluated the ability of the approach to discriminate the native pose from other higher energy conformations during the exploration of the active site of the protein. We find from our initial calculations, that our program is able to perform a conformational search in both cases, and the effect of QM region definition is noticeable, especially in the description of the hydrophobic interactions within the carbonic anhydrase II system. Our approach is also able to find poses of the cytidine deaminase ligand within 1 A of the native pose.
Date of Award31 Dec 2012
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorRichard Bryce (Supervisor)


  • Quantum Mechanics
  • ROCS
  • Shape Based
  • Pharmacophore
  • Genetic Algorithm
  • Particle Swarm Optimization
  • QM/MM
  • QM
  • Docking
  • Screening
  • Protein Kinase
  • Monte Carlo

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