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With the advent of drug-design experiments where the interaction between a protein and a ligand is determined using X-ray crystallography, the use of automated methods for modelling the ligand into electron density represents a powerful tool. Once the protein structure has been determined by crystallography it is normal that subsequent ligand-complex structures are isomorphous, or nearly so, with the original structure and it is necessary only to determine the fit of ligand to any unsatisfied electron density. The X-LIGAND application was designed with this protocol in mind and provides a tool that searches for unsatisfied electron density and then fits flexible ligands to this within minutes without user intervention.

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