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Domain-based small molecule binding site annotation

Kevin A Snyder1, Howard J Feldman1, Michel Dumontier12, John J Salama1 and Christopher WV Hogue13*

Author Affiliations

1 The Blueprint Initiative, 200 Elm St., Suite 101, Toronto ON, M5T 1K4, Canada

2 Department of Biology, Carleton University, 1125 Colonel By Drive, Ottawa ON, K1S 5B6, Canada

3 Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute, Room 1060, Mount Sinai Hospital, 600 University Ave., Toronto, Ontario, M5G 1X5, Canada

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BMC Bioinformatics 2006, 7:152  doi:10.1186/1471-2105-7-152

Published: 17 March 2006

Abstract

Background

Accurate small molecule binding site information for a protein can facilitate studies in drug docking, drug discovery and function prediction, but small molecule binding site protein sequence annotation is sparse. The Small Molecule Interaction Database (SMID), a database of protein domain-small molecule interactions, was created using structural data from the Protein Data Bank (PDB). More importantly it provides a means to predict small molecule binding sites on proteins with a known or unknown structure and unlike prior approaches, removes large numbers of false positive hits arising from transitive alignment errors, non-biologically significant small molecules and crystallographic conditions that overpredict ion binding sites.

Description

Using a set of co-crystallized protein-small molecule structures as a starting point, SMID interactions were generated by identifying protein domains that bind to small molecules, using NCBI's Reverse Position Specific BLAST (RPS-BLAST) algorithm. SMID records are available for viewing at http://smid.blueprint.org webcite. The SMID-BLAST tool provides accurate transitive annotation of small-molecule binding sites for proteins not found in the PDB. Given a protein sequence, SMID-BLAST identifies domains using RPS-BLAST and then lists potential small molecule ligands based on SMID records, as well as their aligned binding sites. A heuristic ligand score is calculated based on E-value, ligand residue identity and domain entropy to assign a level of confidence to hits found. SMID-BLAST predictions were validated against a set of 793 experimental small molecule interactions from the PDB, of which 472 (60%) of predicted interactions identically matched the experimental small molecule and of these, 344 had greater than 80% of the binding site residues correctly identified. Further, we estimate that 45% of predictions which were not observed in the PDB validation set may be true positives.

Conclusion

By focusing on protein domain-small molecule interactions, SMID is able to cluster similar interactions and detect subtle binding patterns that would not otherwise be obvious. Using SMID-BLAST, small molecule targets can be predicted for any protein sequence, with the only limitation being that the small molecule must exist in the PDB. Validation results and specific examples within illustrate that SMID-BLAST has a high degree of accuracy in terms of predicting both the small molecule ligand and binding site residue positions for a query protein.