Assessment of software methods for estimating protein-protein relative binding affinities.

TitleAssessment of software methods for estimating protein-protein relative binding affinities.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2020
AuthorsGonzalez TR, Martin KP, Barnes JE, Patel JSuresh, F Ytreberg M
JournalPLoS One
Date Published2020
KeywordsAntibodies, Antigens, Computational Biology, Datasets as Topic, Kinetics, Mutation, Protein Binding, Software

A growing number of computational tools have been developed to accurately and rapidly predict the impact of amino acid mutations on protein-protein relative binding affinities. Such tools have many applications, for example, designing new drugs and studying evolutionary mechanisms. In the search for accuracy, many of these methods employ expensive yet rigorous molecular dynamics simulations. By contrast, non-rigorous methods use less exhaustive statistical mechanics, allowing for more efficient calculations. However, it is unclear if such methods retain enough accuracy to replace rigorous methods in binding affinity calculations. This trade-off between accuracy and computational expense makes it difficult to determine the best method for a particular system or study. Here, eight non-rigorous computational methods were assessed using eight antibody-antigen and eight non-antibody-antigen complexes for their ability to accurately predict relative binding affinities (ΔΔG) for 654 single mutations. In addition to assessing accuracy, we analyzed the CPU cost and performance for each method using a variety of physico-chemical structural features. This allowed us to posit scenarios in which each method may be best utilized. Most methods performed worse when applied to antibody-antigen complexes compared to non-antibody-antigen complexes. Rosetta-based JayZ and EasyE methods classified mutations as destabilizing (ΔΔG < -0.5 kcal/mol) with high (83-98%) accuracy and a relatively low computational cost for non-antibody-antigen complexes. Some of the most accurate results for antibody-antigen systems came from combining molecular dynamics with FoldX with a correlation coefficient (r) of 0.46, but this was also the most computationally expensive method. Overall, our results suggest these methods can be used to quickly and accurately predict stabilizing versus destabilizing mutations but are less accurate at predicting actual binding affinities. This study highlights the need for continued development of reliable, accessible, and reproducible methods for predicting binding affinities in antibody-antigen proteins and provides a recipe for using current methods.

Alternate JournalPLoS One
PubMed ID33347442
PubMed Central IDPMC7751979
Grant ListP20 GM104420 / GM / NIGMS NIH HHS / United States
P30 GM103324 / GM / NIGMS NIH HHS / United States