Toward the Discovery of Functional Transthyretin Amyloid Inhibitors: Application of Virtual Screening Methods

publication · 8 years ago
by Carlos J.V. Simoes, Trishna Mukherjee, Rui M.M. Brito, Richard M. Jackson (University of Leeds)
Screen Calculator Plugins (logP logD pKa etc...)
Inhibition of amyloid fibril formation by stabilization of the native form of the protein transthyretin (TTR) is a viable approach for the treatment of familial amyloid polyneuropathy that has been gaining momentum in the field of amyloid research. The TTR stabilizer molecules discovered to date have shown efficacy at inhibiting fibrilization in vitro but display impairing issues of solubility, affinity for TTR in the blood plasma and/or adverse effects. In this study we present a benchmark of four protein- and ligand-based virtual screening (VS) methods for identifying novel TTR stabilizers: (i) two-dimensional (2D) similarity searches with chemical hashed, pharmacophore, and UNITY fingerprints, (ii) 3D searches based on shape, chemical, and electrostatic similarity, (iii) LigMatch, a new ligand-based method which uses multiple templates and combines 3D geometric hashing with a 2D preselection process, and (iv) molecular docking to consensus X-ray crystal structures of TTR. We illustrate the potential of the best-performing VS protocols to retrieve promising new leads by ranking a tailored library of 2.3 million commercially available compounds. Our predictions show that the top-scoring molecules possess distinctive features from the known TTR binders, holding better solubility, fraction of halogen atoms, and binding affinity profiles. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first attempt to rationalize the utilization of a large battery of in silico screening techniques toward the identification of a new generation of TTR amyloid inhibitors.
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