Plasmodium falciparum dihydroorotate dehydrogenase (PfDHODH), a key enzyme in the de novo pyrimidine biosynthesis pathway, which the Plasmodium falciparum relies on exclusively for survival, has emerged as a promising target for antimalarial drugs. In an effort to discover new and potent PfDHODH inhibitors, 3D-QSAR pharmacophore models were developed based on the structures of known PfDHODH inhibitors and the validated Hypo1 model was used as a 3D search query for virtual screening of the National Cancer Institute database. The virtual hit compounds were further filtered based on molecular docking and Molecular Mechanics/Generalized Born Surface Area binding energy calculations. The combination of the pharmacophore and structure-based virtual screening resulted in the identification of nine new compounds that showed >25% inhibition of PfDHODH at a concentration of 10 μM, three of which exhibited IC50 values in the range of 0.38-20 μM. The most active compound, NSC336047, displayed species-selectivity for PfDHODH over human DHODH and inhibited parasite growth with an IC50 of 26 μM. In addition to this, 13 compounds inhibited parasite growth with IC50 values of ≤50 μM, 4 of which showed IC50 values in the range of 5-12 μM. These compounds could be further explored in the identification and development of more potent PfDHODH and parasite growth inhibitors.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Chemical Engineering(all)
- Computer Science Applications
- Library and Information Sciences