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Prediction of Hit-to-Lead Ligand Molecule Interaction with G-Quadruplex DNA from c-Myc Oncogene Promoter Region

Petar M Mitrasinovic


Targeting guanine (G)-rich DNA sequences, folded into non-canonical G-quadruplex (G4) structures, by small ligand molecules is a potential strategy for gene therapy of cancer disease. BRACO-19 has been recently established as a unique (thermodynamically favorable and highly selective) binder, being involved in the external stacking mode of interaction with a G4-DNA formed in the c-Myc oncogene promoter region (P. M. Mitrasinovic, Croat. Chem. Acta 2019, 92, 43-57). Herein, hit-to-lead ligands are identified using high-throughput virtual screening (HTVS). Search of the Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) databases is performed using the key pharmacophore features of BRACO-19. At the very outset, out of a total of 29,009 entries, 95 hits are extracted and evaluated by docking them in the binding sites of G4. Then, 22 hits are chosen by observing the binding free energies. Consequently, 3 hit-to-lead candidates are selected on the basis of structural criteria. Finally, a lead candidate structure is proposed using analog design and considering both the physicochemical requirements for optimal biological activity and a variety of pharmacological standpoints. Implications of the present study for experimental research are discussed.


Anti-cancer drug design; BRACO-19; c-Myc oncogene promoter; G-quadruplex DNA; hit-to-lead ligand molecule

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Copyright (c) 2020 Petar M Mitrasinovic

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