Robust Search Methods for Rational Drug Design Applications
MetadataShow full item record
The main topic of this thesis is the development of computational search methods that are useful in drug design applications. The emphasis is on exhaustiveness of the search method such that it can guarantee a certain level of geometric accuracy. In particular, the following two problems are addressed: (i) Prediction of binding mode of a drug molecule to a receptor and (ii) prediction of crystal structures of drug molecules. Predicting the binding mode(s) of a drug molecule to a target receptor is pivotal in structure-based rational drug design. In contrast to most approaches to solve this problem, the idea in this work is to analyze the search problem from a computational perspective. By building on top of an existing docking tool, new methods are proposed and relevant computational results are proven. These methods and results are applicable for other place-and-join frameworks as well. A fast approximation scheme for the docking of rigid fragments is described that guarantees certain geometric approximation factors. It is also demonstrated that this can be translated into an energy approximation for simple scoring functions. A polynomial time algorithm is developed for the matching phase of the docked rigid fragments. It is demonstrated that the generic matching problem is NP-hard. At the same time the optimality of the proposed algorithm is proven under certain scoring function conditions. The matching results are also applicable for some of the fragment-based de novo design methods. On the practical side, the proposed method is tested on 829 complexes from the PDB. The results show that the closest predicted pose to the native structure has the average RMS deviation of 1.06 °A. The prediction of crystal structures of small organic molecules has significantly improved over the last two decades. Most of the new developments, since the first blind test held in 1999, have occurred in the lattice energy estimation subproblem. In this work, a new efficient systematic search method that avoids random moves is proposed. It systematically searches through the space of possible crystal structures and conducts search space cuts based on statistics collected from the structural databases. It is demonstrated that the fast search method for rigid molecules can be extended to include flexible molecules as well. Also, the results of some prediction experiments are provided showing that in most cases the systematic search generates a structure with less than 1.0°A RMSD from the experimental crystal structure. The scoring function that has been developed for these experiments is described briefly. It is also demonstrated that with a more accurate lattice energy estimation function, better results can be achieved with the proposed robust search method.