Peptide-mediated interactions are involved in many signaling and regulatory pathways as well as the DNA replication machinery and are linked to many pathological disorders. Many research groups are currently working towards a more detailed understanding of these important interactions by characterizing the 3D complex structures with experimental methods like X-ray crystallography and NMR. However, for a large number of peptide-protein complexes such atomistic structural information is lacking to date. Computational peptide docking methods can yield information complementary to experimental information by predicting the protein-peptide complex structure from the 3D structure of the protein and the peptide sequence. This approach can also be used to study interactions between folded and disordered proteins/protein regions (e.g., the interactions of the disordered regions in tumor suppressor p53 with its different partners). Here, we describe the development and usage of the fully blind, flexible peptide-protein docking protocol pepATTRACT. The ATTRACT docking engine is implemented as a suite of command line tools and options that can be combined at will. Therefore, ATTRACT protocols like pepATTRACT are typically invoked via a custom, hand-written shell script. Although this approach is very flexible, it limits the accessibility of ATTRACT to expert users only. To make pepATTRACT easily accessible to non-expert users, we created a web-interface which helps the user set up a peptide docking protocol by editing parameters in a web browser (www.attract.ph.tum.de/peptide.html). pepATTRACT docking scripts can then executed on the user's local machine, once the ATTRACT software has been installed. Here, we describe all the steps necessary for setting up a pepATTRACT docking run via the web-interface including installation of the ATTRACT software.
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