A simple click by click protocol to perform docking: AutoDock 4.2 made easy for non-bioinformaticians

EXCLI J. 2013 Sep 23:12:831-57. eCollection 2013.


Recently, bioinformatics has advanced to the level that it allows almost accurate prediction of molecular interactions that hold together a protein and a ligand in the bound state. For instance, the program AutoDock has been developed to provide a procedure for predicting the interaction of small molecules with macromolecular targets which can easily separate compounds with micromolar and nanomolar binding constants from those with millimolar binding constants and can often rank molecules with finer differences in affinity. AutoDock can be used to screen a variety of possible compounds, searching for new compounds with specific binding properties or testing a range of modifications of an existing compound. The present work is a detailed outline of the protocol to use AutoDock in a more user-friendly manner. The first step is to retrieve required Ligand and Target.pdb files from major databases. The second step is preparing PDBQT format files for Target and Ligand (Target.pdbqt, Ligand.pdbqt) and Grid and Docking Parameter file (a.gpf and a.dpf) using AutoDock 4.2. The third step is to perform molecular docking using Cygwin and finally the results are analyzed. With due confidence, this is our humble claim that a researcher with no previous background in bioinformatics research would be able to perform molecular docking using AutoDock 4.2 program by following stepwise guidelines given in this article.

Keywords: AutoDock; computer aided docking; drug discovery; enzyme-ligand interaction; free offline docking; non-bioinformaticians.