EasyDock: customizable and scalable docking tool

J Cheminform. 2023 Nov 1;15(1):102. doi: 10.1186/s13321-023-00772-2.


Docking of large compound collections becomes an important procedure to discover new chemical entities. Screening of large sets of compounds may also occur in de novo design projects guided by molecular docking. To facilitate these processes, there is a need for automated tools capable of efficiently docking a large number of molecules using multiple computational nodes within a reasonable timeframe. These tools should also allow for easy integration of new docking programs and provide a user-friendly program interface to support the development of further approaches utilizing docking as a foundation. Currently available tools have certain limitations, such as lacking a convenient program interface or lacking support for distributed computations. In response to these limitations, we have developed a module called EasyDock. It can be deployed over a network of computational nodes using the Dask library, without requiring a specific cluster scheduler. Furthermore, we have proposed and implemented a simple model that predicts the runtime of docking experiments and applied it to minimize overall docking time. The current version of EasyDock supports popular docking programs, namely Autodock Vina, gnina, and smina. Additionally, we implemented a supplementary feature to enable docking of boron-containing compounds, which are not inherently supported by Vina and smina, and demonstrated its applicability on a set of 55 PDB protein-ligand complexes.

Keywords: AutoDock Vina; Boron-containing compound docking; Distributed docking; Gnina; High-throughput molecular docking.