Cobdock: an accurate and practical machine learning-based consensus blind docking method

Sadettin Y. Ugurlu, David McDonald, Huangshu Lei, Alan M. Jones, Shu Li, Henry Y. Tong, Mark S. Butler, Shan He

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Probing the surface of proteins to predict the binding site and binding affinity for a given small molecule is a critical but challenging task in drug discovery. Blind docking addresses this issue by performing docking on binding regions randomly sampled from the entire protein surface. However, compared with local docking, blind docking is less accurate and reliable because the docking space is too largetly sampled. Cavity detection-guided blind docking methods improved the accuracy by using cavity detection (also known as binding site detection) tools to guide the docking procedure. However, it is worth noting that the performance of these methods heavily relies on the quality of the cavity detection tool. This constraint, namely the dependence on a single cavity detection tool, significantly impacts the overall performance of cavity detection-guided methods. To overcome this limitation, we proposed Consensus Blind Dock (CoBDock), a novel blind, parallel docking method that uses machine learning algorithms to integrate docking and cavity detection results to improve not only binding site identification but also pose prediction accuracy. Our experiments on several datasets, including PDBBind 2020, ADS, MTi, DUD-E, and CASF-2016, showed that CoBDock has better binding site and binding mode performance than other state-of-the-art cavity detector tools and blind docking methods.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5
JournalJournal of Cheminformatics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2024


  • Blind molecular docking
  • Consensus docking
  • Cross-docking
  • Docking
  • Global docking
  • Hybrid docking
  • Inverse-docking
  • Protein docking
  • Reverse-docking
  • Small molecule docking


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