Here we report for the first time the use of fit quality (FQ), a ligand efficiency (LE) based measure for virtual screening (VS) of compound libraries. The LE based VS protocol was used to screen an in-house database of 125,000 compounds to identify aurora kinase A inhibitors. First, 20 known aurora kinase inhibitors were docked to aurora kinase A crystal structure (PDB ID: 2W1C); and the conformations of docked ligand were used to create a pharmacophore (PH) model. The PH model was used to screen the database compounds, and rank (PH rank) them based on the predicted IC50 values. Next, LE-Scale, a weight-dependant LE function, was derived from 294 known aurora kinase inhibitors. Using the fit quality (FQ = LE/LE-Scale) score derived from the LE-Scale function, the database compounds were reranked (PH-FQ rank) and the top 151 (0.12% of database) compounds were assessed for aurora kinase A inhibition biochemically. This VS protocol led to the identification of 7 novel hits, with compound 5 showing aurora kinase A IC50 = 1.29 μM. Furthermore, testing of 5 against a panel of 31 kinase reveals that it is selective toward aurora kinase A & B, with <50% inhibition for other kinases at 10 μM concentrations and is a suitable candidate for further development. Incorporation of FQ score in the VS protocol not only helped identify a novel aurora kinase inhibitor, 5, but also increased the hit rate of the VS protocol by improving the enrichment factor (EF) for FQ based screening (EF = 828), compared to PH based screening (EF = 237) alone. The LE based VS protocol disclosed here could be applied to other targets for hit identification in an efficient manner.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Drug Discovery
- Organic Chemistry