Modeling regionalized volumetric differences in protein-ligand binding cavities

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Proteome Sci, Volume 10, Number Suppl 1, p.S6 (2012)


Identifying elements of protein structures that create differences in protein-ligand binding specificity is an essential method for explaining the molecular mechanisms underlying preferential binding. In some cases, influential mechanisms can be visually identified by experts in structural biology, but subtler mechanisms, whose significance may only be apparent from the analysis of many structures, are harder to find. To assist this process, we present a geometric algorithm and two statistical models for identifying significant structural differences in protein-ligand binding cavities. We demonstrate these methods in an analysis of sequentially nonredundant structural representatives of the canonical serine proteases and the enolase superfamily. Here, we observed that statistically significant structural variations identified experimentally established determinants of specificity. We also observed that an analysis of individual regions inside cavities can reveal areas where small differences in shape can correspond to differences in specificity.