Structure-based discovery of novel P-glycoprotein inhibitors targeting the nucleotide binding domains

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Abstract

P-glycoprotein (P-gp), a membrane transport protein overexpressed in certain drug-resistant cancer cells, has been the target of numerous drug discovery projects aimed at overcoming drug resistance in cancer. Most characterized P-gp inhibitors bind at the large hydrophobic drug binding domain (DBD), but none have yet attained regulatory approval. In this study, we explored the potential of designing inhibitors that target the nucleotide binding domains (NBDs), by computationally screening a large library of 2.6 billion synthesizable molecules, using a combination of machine learning-guided molecular docking and molecular dynamics (MD). 14 of the computationally best-scoring molecules were subsequently tested for their ability to inhibit P-gp mediated calcein-AM efflux. In total, five diverse compounds exhibited inhibitory effects in the calcein-AM assay without displaying toxicity. The activity of these compounds was confirmed by their ability to decrease the verapamil-stimulated ATPase activity of P-gp in a subsequent assay. The discovery of these five novel P-gp inhibitors demonstrates the potential of in-silico screening in drug discovery and provides a new stepping point towards future potent P-gp inhibitors.

Original languageEnglish
Article number21217
JournalScientific Reports
Volume13
Issue number1
Number of pages11
ISSN2045-2322
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023

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