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Fingerprint Directed Scaffold Hopping for Identification of CCR2 Antagonists

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journal contribution
posted on 22.09.2008, 00:00 by Pramod C. Nair, M. Elizabeth Sobhia
Chemokine receptors have evolved as attractive targets for disease conditions which arise due to immunomodulation involving host-defense mechanisms. CCR2, a chemokine receptor, is targeted for diseases like arthritis, multiple sclerosis, vascular disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes. This study provides a new strategy of a ligand based technique which exploits fingerprint led fragment features in conjunction with structure-guided design for identifying new scaffolds for CCR2. A fragment based mining (FBM) technique was employed on a chemical database to identify novel scaffold hops. The hits were subjected to 3-point pharmacophore fingerprint procedures with Tanimoto similarity metric to compare pharmacophoric fingerprints. The final 66 hits generated by these exercises were predicted by the validated HQSAR model, and the top predicted were suggested as probable scaffolds for CCR2 antagonism. The identified scaffolds were validated through molecular docking studies. The ligands were docked by providing receptor flexibility in the extra cellular domain (1 and 3), N terminal domain, and in the transmembrane (TM1 & TM7) helix region with IFD approach. Some of the scaffolds showed H-bonding potential which was not explored by the data set molecules. All identified scaffolds highlighted a key hydrogen bonding interaction with Thr292 as supported by mutational studies. The observed pi stacking interaction with Tyr188 in data set molecules was also produced by the new scaffolds. Taking the advantage of receptor flexibility the scaffolds explored the hydrophobic binding cleft between helix 1 and 7 occupied by residues Leu44, Leu45, Leu48 and Ile300, Ile303, Ile304, respectively. Two of the identified molecules have promising outcomes and can be considered as novel scaffolds for CCR2 binding.