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Could the FDA-approved anti-HIV PR inhibitors be promising anticancer agents? An answer from enhanced docking approach and molecular dynamics analyses

Authors Arodola O, Soliman M

Received 30 April 2015

Accepted for publication 2 June 2015

Published 13 November 2015 Volume 2015:9 Pages 6055—6065

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/DDDT.S87653

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Prof. Dr. Wei Duan


Olayide A Arodola, Mahmoud ES Soliman

Molecular Modelling and Drug Design Lab, School of Health Sciences, Westville Campus, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa

Abstract: Based on experimental data, the anticancer activity of nelfinavir (NFV), a US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved HIV-1 protease inhibitor (PI), was reported. Nevertheless, the mechanism of action of NFV is yet to be verified. It was hypothesized that the anticancer activity of NFV is due to its inhibitory effect on heat shock protein 90 (Hsp90), a promising target for anticancer therapy. Such findings prompted us to investigate the potential anticancer activity of all other FDA-approved HIV-1 PIs against human Hsp90. To accomplish this, “loop docking” – an enhanced in-house developed molecular docking approach – followed by molecular dynamic simulations and postdynamic analyses were performed to elaborate on the binding mechanism and relative binding affinities of nine FDA-approved HIV-1 PIs against human Hsp90. Due to the lack of the X-ray crystal structure of human Hsp90, homology modeling was performed to create its 3D structure for subsequent simulations. Results showed that NFV has better binding affinity (ΔG =−9.2 kcal/mol) when compared with other PIs: this is in a reasonable accordance with the experimental data (IC50 3.1 µM). Indinavir, saquinavir, and ritonavir have close binding affinity to NFV (ΔG =−9.0, −8.6, and −8.5 kcal/mol, respectively). Per-residue interaction energy decomposition analysis showed that hydrophobic interaction (most importantly with Val534 and Met602) played the most predominant role in drug binding. To further validate the docking outcome, 5 ns molecular dynamic simulations were performed in order to assess the stability of the docked complexes. To our knowledge, this is the first account of detailed computational investigations aimed to investigate the potential anticancer activity and the binding mechanism of the FDA-approved HIV PIs binding to human Hsp90. Information gained from this study should also provide a route map toward the design, optimization, and further experimental investigation of potential derivatives of PIs to treat HER2+ breast cancer.

Keywords: binding free energy, loop docking, molecular dynamics, HIV-1 protease inhibitors, anticancer

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