Protein-protein docking protocols aim to predict the structures of protein-protein complexes based on the structure of individual partners. Docking protocols usually include several steps of sampling, clustering, refinement and re-scoring. The scoring step is one of the bottlenecks in the performance of many state-of-the-art protocols. The performance of scoring functions depends on the quality of the generated structures and its coupling to the sampling algorithm. A tool kit, GRADSCOPT (GRid Accelerated Directly SCoring OPTimizing), was designed to allow rapid development and optimization of different knowledge-based scoring potentials for specific objectives in protein-protein docking. Different atomistic and coarsegrained potentials can be created by a grid-accelerated directly scoring dependent Monte-Carlo annealing or by a linear regression optimization. We demonstrate that the scoring functions generated by our approach are similar to or even outperform state-of-the-art scoring functions for predicting near-native solutions. Of additional importance, we find that potentials specifically trained to identify the native bound complex perform rather poorly on identifying acceptable or medium quality (near-native) solutions. In contrast, atomistic longrange contact potentials can increase the average fraction of near-native poses by up to a factor 2.5 in the best scored 1% decoys (compared to existing scoring), emphasizing the need of specific docking potentials for different steps in the docking protocol.
Sasse, A., De Vries, S. J., Schindler, C. E. M., De Beauchêne, I. C., & Zacharias, M. (2017). Rapid design of knowledge-based scoring potentials for enrichment of near-native geometries in protein-protein docking. PLoS ONE, 12(1). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0170625