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Combining structure-based pharmacophore modeling, virtual screening, and in silico ADMET analysis to discover novel tetrahydro-quinoline based pyruvate kinase isozyme M2 activators with antitumor activity

Authors Chen C, Wang T, Wu F, Huang W, He G, Ouyang L, Xiang M, Peng C, Jiang Q

Received 23 February 2014

Accepted for publication 9 July 2014

Published 2 September 2014 Volume 2014:8 Pages 1195—1210


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Can Chen,1,2,* Ting Wang,1,3,* Fengbo Wu,1,* Wei Huang,4 Gu He,1 Liang Ouyang,1 Mingli Xiang,1 Cheng Peng,4 Qinglin Jiang1,2

1State Key Laboratory of Biotherapy and Department of Pharmacy, West China Hospital, Sichuan University, Chengdu, 2College of Pharmacy and the First Affiliated Hospital, Chengdu Medical College, Chengdu, 3Department of Cardiology, Genenal Hospital of Chengdu Military Command, Chengdu, 4State Key Laboratory Breeding Base of Systematic Research, Development and Utilization of Chinese Medicine, Chengdu University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Chengdu, People’s Republic of China

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Abstract: Compared with normal differentiated cells, cancer cells upregulate the expression of pyruvate kinase isozyme M2 (PKM2) to support glycolytic intermediates for anabolic processes, including the synthesis of nucleic acids, amino acids, and lipids. In this study, a combination of the structure-based pharmacophore modeling and a hybrid protocol of virtual screening methods comprised of pharmacophore model-based virtual screening, docking-based virtual screening, and in silico ADMET (absorption, distribution, metabolism, excretion and toxicity) analysis were used to retrieve novel PKM2 activators from commercially available chemical databases. Tetrahydroquinoline derivatives were identified as potential scaffolds of PKM2 activators. Thus, the hybrid virtual screening approach was applied to screen the focused tetrahydroquinoline derivatives embedded in the ZINC database. Six hit compounds were selected from the final hits and experimental studies were then performed. Compound 8 displayed a potent inhibitory effect on human lung cancer cells. Following treatment with Compound 8, cell viability, apoptosis, and reactive oxygen species (ROS) production were examined in A549 cells. Finally, we evaluated the effects of Compound 8 on mice xenograft tumor models in vivo. These results may provide important information for further research on novel PKM2 activators as antitumor agents.

pharmacophore, molecular docking, pyruvate kinase, virtual screening

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