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Fast 3D shape screening of large chemical databases through alignment-recycling

Author(s): Fontaine Fabien | Bolton Evan | Borodina Yulia | Bryant Stephen

Journal: Chemistry Central Journal
ISSN 1752-153X

Volume: 1;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 12;
Date: 2007;
Original page

Abstract Background Large chemical databases require fast, efficient, and simple ways of looking for similar structures. Although such tasks are now fairly well resolved for graph-based similarity queries, they remain an issue for 3D approaches, particularly for those based on 3D shape overlays. Inspired by a recent technique developed to compare molecular shapes, we designed a hybrid methodology, alignment-recycling, that enables efficient retrieval and alignment of structures with similar 3D shapes. Results Using a dataset of more than one million PubChem compounds of limited size (< 28 heavy atoms) and flexibility (< 6 rotatable bonds), we obtained a set of a few thousand diverse structures covering entirely the 3D shape space of the conformers of the dataset. Transformation matrices gathered from the overlays between these diverse structures and the 3D conformer dataset allowed us to drastically (100-fold) reduce the CPU time required for shape overlay. The alignment-recycling heuristic produces results consistent with de novo alignment calculation, with better than 80% hit list overlap on average. Conclusion Overlay-based 3D methods are computationally demanding when searching large databases. Alignment-recycling reduces the CPU time to perform shape similarity searches by breaking the alignment problem into three steps: selection of diverse shapes to describe the database shape-space; overlay of the database conformers to the diverse shapes; and non-optimized overlay of query and database conformers using common reference shapes. The precomputation, required by the first two steps, is a significant cost of the method; however, once performed, querying is two orders of magnitude faster. Extensions and variations of this methodology, for example, to handle more flexible and larger small-molecules are discussed.
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