Function-specific virtual screening for GPCR ligands using a combined scoring method

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Albert J. Kooistra, Henry F. Vischer, Daniel McNaught-Flores, Rob Leurs, Iwan J.P. De Esch, Chris De Graaf

The ability of scoring functions to correctly select and rank docking poses of small molecules in protein binding sites is highly target dependent, which presents a challenge for structure-based drug discovery. Here we describe a virtual screening method that combines an energy-based docking scoring function with a molecular interaction fingerprint (IFP) to identify new ligands based on G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) crystal structures. The consensus scoring method is prospectively evaluated by: 1) the discovery of chemically novel, fragment-like, high affinity histamine H1 receptor (H1R) antagonists/inverse agonists, 2) the selective structure-based identification of ß2-adrenoceptor (ß2R) agonists, and 3) the experimental validation and comparison of the combined and individual scoring approaches. Systematic retrospective virtual screening simulations allowed the definition of scoring cut-offs for the identification of H1R and ß2R ligands and the selection of an optimal ß-adrenoceptor crystal structure for the discrimination between ß2R agonists and antagonists. The consensus approach resulted in the experimental validation of 53% of the ß2R and 73% of the H1R virtual screening hits with up to nanomolar affinities and potencies. The selective identification of ß2R agonists shows the possibilities of structure-based prediction of GPCR ligand function by integrating protein-ligand binding mode information.

Original languageEnglish
Article number28288
JournalScientific Reports
Publication statusPublished - 24 Jun 2016
Externally publishedYes

ID: 199352130