Difference between revisions of "2021 DOCK tutorial 1 with PDBID 1HW9"

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(DOCK Prep of the Ligand)
(DOCK Prep of the Ligand)
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   File -> Save Mol2 -> (Destination) -> 1HW9_lig_wH.mol2
   File -> Save Mol2 -> (Destination) -> 1HW9_lig_wH.mol2

Revision as of 19:32, 3 March 2021



DOCK 6 is one of the many tools available to computational biologists that predicts ligand binding geometries and interactions. The functions of DOCK 6 are diverse and have several general applications. A primary use of the program involves a virtual screening of thousands of molecules for an intended purpose. These purposes can include database screenings for molecules that inhibit enzyme activity, bind a particular protein, or even bind to larger complexes. As more versions of the program are released, new features are added such as the inclusion of solvation and receptor flexibility considerations in its calculations.


IHW9 is the PDB code for the catalytic complex between human HMG-CoA reductase (HMGR) and Simvastatin. HMGR is considered a rate-controlling enzyme in the metabolic pathway responsible for the biosynthesis of cholesterol. Inhibitors of HMGR, known as statins, are often prescribed as treatment therapies for high cholesterol patients. While statins inhibit the catalytic effect of HMGR, they also provide other positive biochemical effects such as the stimulation of bone growth and anti-inflammatory responses. Studying statin binding using this complex can potentially aid in the discovery of drugs capable of producing these off-target effects.

Directory Preparation

Before even beginning the DOCK prep, it's much easier to create the directories we'll be using throughout the calculation now rather than later. To begin, make a directory using the PDB code provided on the website. This makes organizing the files cleaner and easier to follow.

  mkdir 1HW9

Once the directory is made, enter it as we will be creating several more directories within this directory.

  cd 1HW9

Inside the 1HW9 directory, you should make several additional directories with the following titles. You do not have to follow the same nomenclature provided here as these are simply examples. However, the names you ultimately choose should be indicative of the information you will be keeping in them. This makes finding files much easier later on in the DOCK process.

  001_structure  002_surface_spheres  003_gridbox  004_dock  005_virtual_screen  006_virtual_screen_mpi  007_cartesianmin  008_rescore

You can confirm the presence of these directories within 1HW9 by using the "ls" command.

Receptor Preparation

Downloading and Opening 1HW9

The first file we need to get started is the 1HW9 PDB file from the website. If you head over to the Protein Data Base website, you'll notice a search bar located at the top of the page. Simply type in "1HW9" into that search bar and it will take you to the corresponding page. You can also search using the name of the complex, but since we already have the corresponding code, this makes things much easier.

Once on the webpage, you'll notice a breadth of information regarding the protein complex. Take note of the information you see and where you can access this information such as relevant literature links and images. At the right of your screen, you'll see a "Download Files" tab which you should click on.

  Download Files -> PDB format -> (Your_Specified_Folder)

Since you are now the proud owner of the 1HW9 PDB file, you can begin opening it up in Chimera. Once Chimera is open, go to the top left and click:

  File -> Open -> (Path_to_Specified Folder) -> 1HW9.pdb


Once open, the program should show you something that looks like the above image. This is known as a ribbon diagram and visualizes several properties of the HMGR-Sim complex. Using the ribbon diagram and Chimera, we can ascertain several defining characteristics such as specific residues, rotatable bonds, and protein chains. The image at the moment looks like a lot, but you would never run a calculation with all this information at once. We need to isolate several components first to make the image easier to follow and calculations easier to perform.

DOCK Prep of the Protein Receptor

While having the entire complex at our disposal is nice, it doesn't do much good to have all chains present during the calculations. This spends unnecessary computational resources and time. Instead, we can isolate one of the chains that incorporates the interaction between HMGR and Simvastatin. Our focus will be on Chain A of the complex. In order to visualize the chain:

  Select -> Chain -> A

Notice, however, that this does not remove Chains B, C, and D from our view. We need to perform this action manually.

  Select -> Invert (Selected Molecules) -> Actions -> Atoms/Bonds -> Delete

After deletion, the only thing remaining should be Chain A of the original file. It is within your best interest to save this session as you'll need to come back to this file when preparing the ligand. Doing so will prevent you from having to do the above deletion step again.

  File -> Save Session As ->

Now that the session has been saved, we can go ahead and isolate the receptor. While we've isolated Chain A, you'll notice that Simvastatin is still located on the molecule. In order to remove everything besides HMGR, we need to do the following:

  Select -> Residue -> ADP -> Actions -> Atoms/Bonds -> Delete
  Select -> Residue -> HOH -> Actions -> Atoms/Bonds -> Delete
  Select -> Residue -> SIM -> Actions -> Atoms/Bonds -> Delete

Notice that not only did we remove Simvastatin, but we also removed any ADP and water molecules. These are not vital to the calculations and can be removed as such. The only item remaining should be the isolated receptor.


The isolated receptor can now be saved as a mol2 file which we will again modify shortly after saving.

  File -> Save Mol2 -> 1HW9_rec_noH.mol2

We now need to actually prepare the molecule for future DOCK calculations. This can be done using Chimera to add both charge and hydrogens to the receptor. Fortunately, there is a very useful command in Chimera that can do both in one step.

  Tools -> Structure Editing -> DOCK prep

Follow the onscreen prompts and command windows to fully prep the receptor. This would be a great time to review the literature present on the PDB website. Consulting the literature, you'll notice the neutral charge on the receptor molecule. It's important to note that this charge needs to be the same charge that you assign the receptor molecule in Chimera during the dock prep. After you're finished, the receptor should look like this.

  Atoms/Bonds -> Show

Now that the receptor is prepped, we can save it and move on to isolating and prepping the ligand. This file should be saved as a separate mol2 file.

  File -> Save Mol2 -> (Destination) -> 1HW9_rec_wH.mol2

Ligand Preparation

Isolating the Ligand

Open the session in Chimera we previously saved that consisted of Chain A with both the receptor and Simvastatin ligand. This time around, we'll be using the session file to isolate the ligand instead of the receptor.

  Select -> Residue -> SIM -> Select -> Invert (Selected Molecules) -> Actions -> Atoms/Bonds -> Delete

Similar to the receptor, we'll need to save this ligand as its own mol2 file.

  File -> Save Mol2 -> (Destination) -> 1HW9_lig_noH.mol2

DOCK Prep of the Ligand

We now need to prepare the ligand file for DOCK as well. This will be done in the exact same manner as the DOCK prep for the receptor.

  Tools -> Structure Editing -> DOCK Prep

Again, follow the onscreen prompts to complete this step. However, you'll notice that Simvastatin ligand will have a net charge of -1. This needs to be confirmed using the literature on the PDB website. If we look at the residues at the binding pocket, we'll see the presence of arginine and lysine residues. This would indicate that that ligand here is most likely in a deprotonated state.

Save this file under a different name using the previous nomenclature.

  File -> Save Mol2 -> (Destination) -> 1HW9_lig_wH.mol2