Molecular recognition of receptor sites using a genetic algorithm with a description of desolvation

J Mol Biol. 1995 Jan 6;245(1):43-53. doi: 10.1016/s0022-2836(95)80037-9.


Understanding the principles whereby macromolecular biological receptors can recognise small molecule substrates or inhibitors is the subject of a major effort. This is of paramount importance in rational drug design where the receptor structure is known (the "docking" problem). Current theoretical approaches utilise models of the steric and electrostatic interaction of bound ligands and recently conformational flexibility has been incorporated. We report results based on software using a genetic algorithm that uses an evolutionary strategy in exploring the full conformational flexibility of the ligand with partial flexibility of the protein, and which satisfies the fundamental requirement that the ligand must displace loosely bound water on binding. Results are reported on five test systems showing excellent agreement with experimental data. The design of the algorithm offers insight into the molecular recognition mechanism.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arabinose / chemistry
  • Computer Simulation
  • Drug Design
  • Galactose / chemistry
  • Macromolecular Substances
  • Models, Genetic*
  • Oxidoreductases / chemistry
  • Protein Conformation
  • Receptors, Drug / chemistry*


  • Macromolecular Substances
  • Receptors, Drug
  • Arabinose
  • Oxidoreductases
  • Galactose