American Chemical Society
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Discovery of Novel Inhibitors of BRD4 for Treating Prostate Cancer: A Comprehensive Case Study for Considering Water Networks in Virtual Screening and Drug Design

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posted on 2023-12-28, 14:07 authored by Haiyang Zhong, Xinyue Wang, Shicheng Chen, Zhe Wang, Huating Wang, Lei Xu, Tingjun Hou, Xiaojun Yao, Dan Li, Peichen Pan
Androgen receptor (AR) is the primary target for treating prostate cancer (PCa), which inevitably progresses due to drug-resistant mutations. Bromodomain-containing protein 4 (BRD4) has been a new potential drug target for PCa treatment. Herein, we report the rational design and discovery of novel BRD4 inhibitors through computer-aided drug design (CADD), and a hit compound SQ-1 (IC50 = 676 nM) was identified by structure-based virtual screening (SBVS) with the conserved water network. To optimize the structure of SQ-1, the free energy landscape was constructed, and the binding mechanism was explored by characterizing the water profile and the dissociation mechanism. Finally, the compound SQ-17 with improved inhibitory activity (IC50 < 100 nM) was discovered, which showed potent antiproliferative activity against LNCaP. These data highlighted a successful attempt to identify and optimize a small molecule by comprehensive CADD application and provided essential clues for developing novel therapeutics for PCa treatment.