Partial-occupancy binders identified by the Pan-Dataset Density Analysis method offer new chemical opportunities and reveal cryptic binding sites.
Pearce NM., Bradley AR., Krojer T., Marsden BD., Deane CM., von Delft F.
Crystallographic fragment screening uses low molecular weight compounds to probe the protein surface and although individual protein-fragment interactions are high quality, fragments commonly bind at low occupancy, historically making identification difficult. However, our new Pan-Dataset Density Analysis method readily identifies binders missed by conventional analysis: for fragment screening data of lysine-specific demethylase 4D (KDM4D), the hit rate increased from 0.9% to 10.6%. Previously unidentified fragments reveal multiple binding sites and demonstrate: the versatility of crystallographic fragment screening; that surprisingly large conformational changes are possible in crystals; and that low crystallographic occupancy does not by itself reflect a protein-ligand complex's significance.