Identification of New Potential Inhibitors of Quorum Sensing through a Specialized Multi-Level Computational Approach

Fábio G. Martins, André Melo, Sérgio F. Sousa
2021 Molecules  
Biofilms are aggregates of microorganisms anchored to a surface and embedded in a self-produced matrix of extracellular polymeric substances and have been associated with 80% of all bacterial infections in humans. Because bacteria in biofilms are less amenable to antibiotic treatment, biofilms have been associated with developing antibiotic resistance, a problem that urges developing new therapeutic options and approaches. Interfering with quorum-sensing (QS), an important process of
more » ... ocess of cell-to-cell communication by bacteria in biofilms is a promising strategy to inhibit biofilm formation and development. Here we describe and apply an in silico computational protocol for identifying novel potential inhibitors of quorum-sensing, using CviR—the quorum-sensing receptor from Chromobacterium violaceum—as a model target. This in silico approach combines protein-ligand docking (with 7 different docking programs/scoring functions), receptor-based virtual screening, molecular dynamic simulations, and free energy calculations. Particular emphasis was dedicated to optimizing the discrimination ability between active/inactive molecules in virtual screening tests using a target-specific training set. Overall, the optimized protocol was used to evaluate 66,461 molecules, including those on the ZINC/FDA-Approved database and to the Mu.Ta.Lig Virtual Chemotheca. Multiple promising compounds were identified, yielding good prospects for future experimental validation and for drug repurposing towards QS inhibition.
doi:10.3390/molecules26092600 pmid:33946907 fatcat:e2pcd3lbijd3nfpg5o6orvkx6i