Indexed on: 01 Jun '06Published on: 01 Jun '06Published in: Journal of the American Chemical Society
Given the three-dimensional (3D) structure of a protein, the binding pose of a ligand can be determined using distance restraints derived from assigned intra-ligand and protein-ligand nuclear Overhauser effects (NOEs). A primary limitation of this approach is the need for resonance assignments of the ligand-bound protein. We have developed an approach that utilizes data from 3D 13C-edited, 13C/15N-filtered HSQC-NOESY spectra for evaluating ligand binding poses without requiring protein NMR resonance assignments. Only the 1H NMR assignments of the bound ligand are essential. Trial ligand binding poses are generated by any suitable method (e.g., computational docking). For each trial binding pose, the 3D 13C-edited, 13C/15N-filtered HSQC-NOESY spectrum is predicted, and the predicted and observed patterns of protein-ligand NOEs are matched and scored using a fast, deterministic bipartite graph matching algorithm. The best scoring (lowest "cost") poses are identified. Our method can incorporate any explicit restraints or protein assignment data that are available, and many extensions of the basic procedure are feasible. Only a single sample is required, and the method can be applied to both slowly and rapidly exchanging ligands. The method was applied to three test cases: one complex involving muscle fatty acid-binding protein (mFABP) and two complexes involving the leukocyte function-associated antigen 1 (LFA-1) I-domain. Without using experimental protein NMR assignments, the method identified the known binding poses with good accuracy. The addition of experimental protein NMR assignments improves the results. Our "NOE matching" approach is expected to be widely applicable; i.e., it does not appear to depend on a fortuitous distribution of binding pocket residues.