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WIREs Comput Mol Sci
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Finding the ΔΔG spot: Are predictors of binding affinity changes upon mutations in protein–protein interactions ready for it?

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Predicting the structure and thermodynamics of protein–protein interactions (PPIs) are key to a proper understanding and modulation of their function. Since experimental methods might not be able to catch up with the fast growth of genomic data, computational alternatives are therefore required. We present here a review dealing with various aspects of predicting binding affinity changes upon mutations (ΔΔG). We focus on predictors that consider three‐dimensional structure information to estimate the impact of mutations on the binding affinity of a protein–protein complex, excluding the rigorous free energy perturbation methods. Training and evaluation, ΔΔG databases, data selection, and existing ΔΔG predictors are specially emphasized. We also establish the parallel with scoring functions used in docking since those share many similar PPI features with ΔΔG predictors. The field has seen a common evolution of ΔΔG predictors and scoring functions over time, transforming from purely energetic functions to statistical energy‐based and further to machine learning‐based functions. As machine learning has come to age, limitations in terms of quantity, quality and variety of the available data become the bottlenecks for the future development of these computational methods. This can be alleviated by building infrastructures for data generation, collection and sharing. Further developments can be catalyzed by conducting community‐wide blind challenges for method assessment. This article is categorized under: Structure and Mechanism > Molecular Structures Structure and Mechanism > Computational Biochemistry and Biophysics Molecular and Statistical Mechanics > Molecular Interactions
Approaches to study structural and thermodynamic features of protein–protein interactions
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Timeline of representative ΔΔG predictors and databases (a) and scoring functions (b) with the color coding representing the type of features used (in color), or highlighting the databases (in black). This timeline is showing selected, representative methods and databases, and is by no means as an extensive representation of all published work
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Molecular and Statistical Mechanics > Molecular Interactions
Structure and Mechanism > Molecular Structures
Structure and Mechanism > Computational Biochemistry and Biophysics

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