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In Journal of cheminformatics

Virtual screening (VS) based on molecular docking has emerged as one of the mainstream technologies of drug discovery due to its low cost and high efficiency. However, the scoring functions (SFs) implemented in most docking programs are not always accurate enough and how to improve their prediction accuracy is still a big challenge. Here, we propose an integrated platform called ASFP, a web server for the development of customized SFs for structure-based VS. There are three main modules in ASFP: (1) the descriptor generation module that can generate up to 3437 descriptors for the modelling of protein-ligand interactions; (2) the AI-based SF construction module that can establish target-specific SFs based on the pre-generated descriptors through three machine learning (ML) techniques; (3) the online prediction module that provides some well-constructed target-specific SFs for VS and an additional generic SF for binding affinity prediction. Our methodology has been validated on several benchmark datasets. The target-specific SFs can achieve an average ROC AUC of 0.973 towards 32 targets and the generic SF can achieve the Pearson correlation coefficient of 0.81 on the PDBbind version 2016 core set. To sum up, the ASFP server is a powerful tool for structure-based VS.

Zhang Xujun, Shen Chao, Guo Xueying, Wang Zhe, Weng Gaoqi, Ye Qing, Wang Gaoang, He Qiaojun, Yang Bo, Cao Dongsheng, Hou Tingjun


Descriptors, Machine learning, Scoring functions, Virtual screening