Uni-GBSA: an open-source and web-based automatic workflow to perform MM/GB(PB)SA calculations for virtual screening

Briefings in bioinformatics(2023)

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Binding free energy calculation of a ligand to a protein receptor is a fundamental objective in drug discovery. Molecular mechanics/Generalized-Born (Poisson-Boltzmann) surface area (MM/GB(PB)SA) is one of the most popular methods for binding free energy calculations. It is more accurate than most scoring functions and more computationally efficient than alchemical free energy methods. Several open-source tools for performing MM/GB(PB)SA calculations have been developed, but they have limitations and high entry barriers to users. Here, we introduce Uni-GBSA, a user-friendly automatic workflow to perform MM/GB(PB)SA calculations, which can perform topology preparation, structure optimization, binding free energy calculation and parameter scanning for MM/GB(PB)SA calculations. It also offers a batch mode that evaluates thousands of molecules against one protein target in parallel for efficient application in virtual screening. The default parameters are selected after systematic testing on the PDBBind-2011 refined dataset. In our case studies, Uni-GBSA produced a satisfactory correlation with the experimental binding affinities and outperformed AutoDock Vina in molecular enrichment. Uni-GBSA is available as an open-source package at . It can also be accessed for virtual screening from the Hermite web platform at . A free Uni-GBSA web server of a lab version is available at . This increases user-friendliness because the web server frees users from package installations and provides users with validated workflows for input data and parameter settings, cloud computing resources for efficient job completions, a user-friendly interface and professional support and maintenance.
MM/GB(PB)SA,free energy calculation,virtual screening
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