Localization of binding sites in protein structures by optimization of a composite scoring function

Protein Sci. 2006 Oct;15(10):2366-80. doi: 10.1110/ps.062247506. Epub 2006 Sep 8.


The rise in the number of functionally uncharacterized protein structures is increasing the demand for structure-based methods for functional annotation. Here, we describe a method for predicting the location of a binding site of a given type on a target protein structure. The method begins by constructing a scoring function, followed by a Monte Carlo optimization, to find a good scoring patch on the protein surface. The scoring function is a weighted linear combination of the z-scores of various properties of protein structure and sequence, including amino acid residue conservation, compactness, protrusion, convexity, rigidity, hydrophobicity, and charge density; the weights are calculated from a set of previously identified instances of the binding-site type on known protein structures. The scoring function can easily incorporate different types of information useful in localization, thus increasing the applicability and accuracy of the approach. To test the method, 1008 known protein structures were split into 20 different groups according to the type of the bound ligand. For nonsugar ligands, such as various nucleotides, binding sites were correctly identified in 55%-73% of the cases. The method is completely automated (http://salilab.org/patcher) and can be applied on a large scale in a structural genomics setting.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Binding Sites
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Hydrophobic and Hydrophilic Interactions
  • Ligands
  • Monte Carlo Method*
  • Protein Conformation
  • Proteins / chemistry*
  • Static Electricity


  • Ligands
  • Proteins