1. Academic Validation
  2. Identification of novel CDK 9 inhibitors based on virtual screening, molecular dynamics simulation, and biological evaluation

Identification of novel CDK 9 inhibitors based on virtual screening, molecular dynamics simulation, and biological evaluation

  • Life Sci. 2020 Oct 1;258:118228. doi: 10.1016/j.lfs.2020.118228.
Mingfei Wu 1 Jianfei Han 1 Zhicheng Liu 1 Yilong Zhang 1 Cheng Huang 1 Jun Li 2 Zeng Li 3
Affiliations

Affiliations

  • 1 The Key Laboratory of Major Autoimmune Diseases, Anhui Institute of Innovative Drugs, School of Pharmacy, Anhui Medical University, The key laboratory of Anti-inflammatory and Immune Medicines, Ministry of Education, Hefei 230032, China.
  • 2 The Key Laboratory of Major Autoimmune Diseases, Anhui Institute of Innovative Drugs, School of Pharmacy, Anhui Medical University, The key laboratory of Anti-inflammatory and Immune Medicines, Ministry of Education, Hefei 230032, China. Electronic address: [email protected]
  • 3 The Key Laboratory of Major Autoimmune Diseases, Anhui Institute of Innovative Drugs, School of Pharmacy, Anhui Medical University, The key laboratory of Anti-inflammatory and Immune Medicines, Ministry of Education, Hefei 230032, China. Electronic address: [email protected]
Abstract

Aims: Cyclin-dependent kinase 9 (CDK9) is a member of the CDK subfamily and plays a major role in the regulation of transcriptional elongation. It has attracted widespread attention as a therapeutic target for Cancer. Here, we aimed to explore novel CDK 9 inhibitors by using a hybrid virtual screening strategy.

Main methods: A hybrid virtual screening strategy was constructed with computer-aided drug design (CADD). First, compounds were filtered in accordance with Lipinski's rule of five and adsorption, distribution, metabolism, excretion, and toxicity (ADMET) properties. Second, a 3D-QSAR pharmacophore model was built and used as a 3D query to screen the obtained hit compounds. Third, the hit compounds were subjected to molecular docking studies. Fourth, molecular dynamics (MD) simulations were performed on CDK9 in complex with the final hits to examine the structural stability. Finally, CDK9 kinase biochemical assay was performed to identify the biological activity of the hit compounds.

Key findings: Seven hit compounds were screened out. These hit compounds showed drug-like properties in accordance with Lipinski's rule of five and ADMET. Complexes involving the six hit compounds bound to CDK9 exhibited good structural stability in the MD simulation. Furthermore, these six hit compounds had strong inhibitory activity against CDK9 kinase. In particular, hit 3 showed the most promising activity with the percentage of 71%.

Significance: The six hit compounds may be promising novel CDK9 inhibitors, and the hybrid virtual screening strategy designed in this study provides an important reference for the design and synthesis of novel CDK9 inhibitors.

Keywords

3D-QSAR; Activity; CDK 9; MD simulations; Virtual screening.

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