Molecular docking of carbohydrate ligands to antibodies: Structural validation against crystal structures

Mark James Agostino, Cassandra Jene, Tristan Paul Boyle, Paul Allen Ramsland, Elizabeth Yuriev

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

56 Citations (Scopus)


Cell surface glycoproteins play vital roles in cellular homeostasis and disease. Antibody recognition of glycosylation on different cells and pathogens is critically important for immune surveillance. Conversely, adverse immune reactions resulting from anti body - carbohydrate interactions have been implicated in the development of autoimmune diseases and impact areas Such as xenotransplantation and cancer treatment. Understanding the nature of antibody-carbohydrate interactions and the method by which saccharides fit into antibody binding sites is important ill understanding the recognition process. In silico techniques offer attractive alternatives to experimental methods (X-ray crystallography and NMR) for the study of antibody-carbohydrate complexes. In particular, molecular docking provides information about protein-ligand interactions ill systems that are difficult to study with experimental techniques. Before molecular docking can be used to investigate antibody-carbohydrate complexes, validation of an appropriate docking method is required. In this study, four popular docking programs, Glide, AutoDock, GOLD, and FlexX, were assessed for their ability to accurately dock carbohydrates to antibodies. Comparison of top ranking poses with crystal structures highlighted the strengths and weaknesses of these programs. Rigid docking, in which the protein conformation remains static, and flexible docking, where both the protein and ligand are treated as flexible, were compared. This study has revealed that generally molecular docking of carbohydrates to antibodies has been performed best by Glide.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2749 - 2760
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Chemical Information and Modeling
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2009

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