Comparative Assessment of Scoring Functions: The CASF-2016 Update.


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In structure-based drug design, scoring functions are often employed to evaluate protein-ligand interactions. A variety of scoring functions have been developed so far, and thus, some objective benchmarks are desired for assessing their strength and weakness. The comparative assessment of scoring functions (CASF) benchmark developed by us provides an answer to this demand. CASF is designed as a "scoring benchmark", where the scoring process is decoupled from the docking process to depict the performance of scoring function more precisely. Here, we describe the latest update of this benchmark, i.e., CASF-2016. Each scoring function is still evaluated by four metrics, including "scoring power", "ranking power", "docking power", and "screening power". Nevertheless, the evaluation methods have been improved considerably in several aspects. A new test set is compiled, which consists of 285 protein-ligand complexes with high-quality crystal structures and reliable binding constants. A panel of 25 scoring functions are tested on CASF-2016 as a demonstration. Our results reveal that the performance of current scoring functions is docking power than scoring, ranking, and screening power. Scoring power is somewhat correlated with ranking power, so are docking power and screening power. The results obtained on CASF-2016 may provide valuable guidance for the end users to make smart choices among available scoring functions. Moreover, CASF is created as an open-access benchmark so that other researchers can utilize it to test a wider range of scoring functions. The complete CASF-2016 benchmark will be released on the PDBbind-CN web server ( once this article is published.
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