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Identification of Potential p38γ Inhibitors via In Silico Screening, In Vitro Bioassay and Molecular Dynamics Simulation Studies.

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Cheng, Zixuan 
Hwang, Siaw San 
Chee, Xavier Wezen 


Protein kinase p38γ is an attractive target against cancer because it plays a pivotal role in cancer cell proliferation by phosphorylating the retinoblastoma tumour suppressor protein. Therefore, inhibition of p38γ with active small molecules represents an attractive alternative for developing anti-cancer drugs. In this work, we present a rigorous and systematic virtual screening framework to identify potential p38γ inhibitors against cancer. We combined the use of machine learning-based quantitative structure activity relationship modelling with conventional computer-aided drug discovery techniques, namely molecular docking and ligand-based methods, to identify potential p38γ inhibitors. The hit compounds were filtered using negative design techniques and then assessed for their binding stability with p38γ through molecular dynamics simulations. To this end, we identified a promising compound that inhibits p38γ activity at nanomolar concentrations and hepatocellular carcinoma cell growth in vitro in the low micromolar range. This hit compound could serve as a potential scaffold for further development of a potent p38γ inhibitor against cancer.


Peer reviewed: True


QSAR modelling, binding interaction, molecular dynamic simulations, p38γ, virtual screening, Antineoplastic Agents, Biological Assay, Drug Discovery, Ligands, Molecular Docking Simulation, Molecular Dynamics Simulation, Quantitative Structure-Activity Relationship, Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase 12

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Int J Mol Sci

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