Structure-based virtual screening for novel potential selective inhibitors of class IIa histone deacetylases for cancer treatment
The fundamental cause of human cancer is strongly influenced by down- or up-regulations of epigenetic factors. Upregulated histone deacetylases (HDAC) have been shown to be effectively neutralized by the action of HDACs inhibitors (HDACi). However, cytotoxicity has been reported in normal cells because of non-specificity of several available HDACis that are in clinical use or at different phases of clinical trials. Because of the high amino acid sequence and structural similarity among HDAC enzymes, it is believed to be a challenging task to obtain isoform-selectivity. The essential aim of the present research work was to identify isoform-selective inhibitors against class IIa HDACs via structure-based drug design. Based on the highest binding affinity and isoform-selectivity, the top-ranked inhibitors were in silico tested for their absorption, distribution, metabolism, elimination, and toxicity (ADMET) properties, which were classified as drug-like compounds. Later, molecular dynamics simulation (MD) was carried out for all compound-protein complexes to evaluate the structural stability and the biding mode of the inhibitors, which showed high stability throughout the 100 ns simulation. Free binding energy predictions by MM-PBSA method showed the high binding affinity of the identified compounds toward their respective targets. Hence, these inhibitors could be used as drug candidates or as lead compounds for more in silico or in vitro optimization to design safe isoform-selective HDACs inhibitors.