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BCL::MolAlign: Three-Dimensional Small Molecule Alignment for Pharmacophore Mapping


Brown BP , Mendenhall J , Meiler J , . Journal of chemical information and modeling. 2019 02 12; 59(2). 689-701


Small molecule flexible alignment is a critical component of both ligand- and structure-based methods in computer-aided drug discovery. Despite its importance, the availability of high-quality flexible alignment software packages is limited. Here, we present BCL::MolAlign, a freely available property-based molecular alignment program. BCL::MolAlign accommodates ligand flexibility through a combination of pregenerated conformers and on-the-fly bond rotation. BCL::MolAlign converges on alignment poses by sampling the relative orientations of mutually matching atom pairs between molecules through Monte Carlo Metropolis sampling. Across six diverse ligand data sets, BCL::MolAlign flexible alignment outperforms MOE, ROCS, and FLEXS in recovering native ligand binding poses. Moreover, the BCL::MolAlign alignment score is more predictive of ligand activity than maximum common substructure similarity across 10 data sets. Finally, on a recently published benchmark set of 20 high quality congeneric ligand-protein complexes, BCL::MolAlign is able to recover a larger fraction of native binding poses than maximum common substructure-based alignment and RosettaLigand. BCL::MolAlign can be obtained as part of the Biology and Chemistry Library (BCL) software package freely with an academic license or can be accessed via Web server at .