Nuclear Receptor Research


Design of Novel Compounds with the Potential of Dual PPARγ/α Modulation for the Management of Metabolic Syndrome

Author(s): Claire Ellul and Claire Shoemake

This study sought to identify a single molecule capable of managing all three manifestations of metabolic syndrome–hyperglycaemia, dyslipidaemia and hypertension. Two Protein Data Bank (PDB) depositions were selected and used to establish the baseline affinity that any designed molecule in this study should ideally exceed in order to be considered for further optimisation. These were PDB depositions 3VN2 and 2P54 describing the bound co-ordinates of the Peroxisome Proliferator Activated Receptor (PPAR)? partial agonist and Angiotensin II Receptor (Ang(II)R) blocker telmisartan and of the experimental PPAR? fibrate agonist GW590735 bound to their respective cognate receptors. These small molecules were extracted from their cognate receptors, docked into their non-cognate counterparts, conformational analysis performed, and the optimal conformers were selected as template scaffolds in two parallel processes. The first was a fragment based de novo approach. Here, molecular moieties from the optimal telmisartan and GW590735 scaffolds modelled in their non-cognate targets and considered critical to binding were identified and modelled, in order to produce seed structures capable of sustaining molecular growth at user-directed sites designated as H.spc atoms subsequent to their being docked within the non-cognate Ligand Binding Pockets (LBPs). The second approach was a Virtual Screening (VS) exercise. Here, the optimal telmisartan and GW590735 conformers were submitted as query molecules to VS databases both individually and in the form of a consensus pharmacophore. This VS exercise identified structurally diverse molecules which were electronically and spatially similar to the queries and which were capable of modulating the target receptors. The molecular cohorts identified through both VS and the de novo approaches were filtered for Lipinski Rule compliance. The molecules that survived filtering were then re-docked into the non-cognate PPAR? and/or ?_LBPs, conformational analysis re-performed and the affinity of the optimal conformer measured for its cognate receptor quantified. Comparison was made to the baseline and non-cognate receptor affinities previously established, and the molecules exhibiting dual affinities exceeding baseline values were selected for further optimisation. The use of the “tried and tested” Ang(II)R blocker and fibrate scaffolds as templates predisposes to the identification of novel structures devoid of unacceptable toxicity.