Computational multiscale modeling in protein--ligand docking

IEEE Eng Med Biol Mag. 2009 Mar-Apr;28(2):58-69. doi: 10.1109/MEMB.2009.931789.


In biological systems, the binding of small molecule ligands to proteins is a crucial process for almost every aspect of biochemistry and molecular biology. Enzymes are proteins that function by catalyzing specific biochemical reactions that convert reactants into products. Complex organisms are typically composed of cells in which thousands of enzymes participate in complex and interconnected biochemical pathways. Some enzymes serve as sequential steps in specific pathways (such as energy metabolism), while others function to regulate entire pathways and cellular functions [1]. Small molecule ligands can be designed to bind to a specific enzyme and inhibit the biochemical reaction. Inhibiting the activity of key enzymes may result in the entire biochemical pathways being turned on or off [2], [3]. Many small molecule drugs marketed today function in this generic way as enzyme inhibitors. If research identifies a specific enzyme as being crucial to the progress of disease, then this enzyme may be targeted with an inhibitor, which may slow down or reverse the progress of disease. In this way, enzymes are targeted from specific pathogens (e.g., virus, bacteria, fungi) for infectious diseases [4], [5], and human enzymes are targeted for noninfectious diseases such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, and neurodegenerative diseases [6].

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Computational Biology / methods*
  • Computer Simulation
  • Ligands
  • Models, Molecular*
  • Monte Carlo Method
  • Protein Binding*
  • Proteins* / chemistry
  • Proteins* / metabolism
  • Solvents / chemistry


  • Ligands
  • Proteins
  • Solvents