04 February 2015

Structure based Design on Membrane Proteins

GPCRs are a big target class, which have historically be unamenable to FBDD/SBDD.  However, recent work has changed this thinking.   Membrane proteins are being viewed as increasingly ligandable and amenable to FBDD.  In this paper, Vass and colleagues show their computational approach to indentifying multiple fragment binding sites amenable to linking.  

Recent clinical evidence supports the effectiveness of dual dopamine D2 and D3 antagonists or partial agonists in schizophrenia, depression, and bipolar mania. D2 antagonism is required for the antipsychotic effect, and D3 antagonism contributes to cognitive enhancement and reduced catalepsy.  Dual acting compounds should show higher activity to D3 than D2 (due to differential expression levels).  To this end, they apply their sequential docking protocol to identify potential points for fragment linking on the D3 crystal structure and D2 homology model.  These two targets have almost identical primary binding sites, but selectivity can be modulated through the secondary site.

In short, their in house fragment library consisted of 196 amine containing fragments for the primary site.  Second library of 266 fragments of cyclohexyl or piperidines.  Then, the first library was
docked to the apo receptor structures,then the docking poses were merged with the receptor, new grids were constructed including the merged ligands, and the second fragment library was docked to the partially occupied binding sites.  
Table 1.
As shown in Table 1, they synthesized three of their compounds and did generate potent and selective D3/D2 antagonists.  Linking is hard.   It still comes down to the right linker and all that entails.  Finding that right linker is made much easier by having structural data, as shown here.  This is a nice example of experimentally verifying in silico predictions. 

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