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Critical Reviews™ in Eukaryotic Gene Expression
IF: 1.841 5-Year IF: 1.927 SJR: 0.649 SNIP: 0.516 CiteScore™: 1.96

ISSN Print: 1045-4403
ISSN Online: 2162-6502

Critical Reviews™ in Eukaryotic Gene Expression

DOI: 10.1615/CritRevEukaryotGeneExpr.2019028371
pages 251-261

Putative Anti-Cancer Drug Candidate Targeting the 'PLK-1-Polo-Box Domain' by High Throughput Virtual Screening: A Computational Drug Design Study

Shazi Shakil
King Fahd Medical Research Center, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia; Department of Medical Laboratory Technology, Faculty of Applied Medical Sciences, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia; Center of Excellence in Genomic Medicine Research, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
Mohammed F. Abuzinadah
Department of Medical Laboratory Technology, Faculty of Applied Medical Sciences, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia


Cancer continues to remain a disease of scientific concern. Significant interest in targeting the Polo-Box-Domain (PBD) of Polo-like-kinase-1 (PLK-1) by novel ligands has arisen. The 'cleft' constituted by amino acid residues W414, H538, and K540 is the traditional target of PLK-1-PBD-inhibitors. However, this 'cleft' is merely a small part of the larger 'Y'-shaped cavity present therein. The objective of this study was to discover inhibitors of the PLK-1-PBD precisely directed against its trimodular 'Y'-pocket. High-throughput structure–based virtual screening (SBVS) of more than 5 million ligands against the aforementioned PLK-1 'Y'-pocket was performed. The SBVS hits were successively subjected to pass through various filters: VINA score ranking, toxicity checker, 'Special Criteria'-filtration, holistic tri-modular 'Y'-pocket interaction check, drug-likeness filters, and medicinal chemistry filters. Accordingly, we arrived at a single top ligand, 'SHAZ-i.' The top ligand, 3-{2-[(2-Methyl-2-propanyl)sulfonyl]phenyl}-5-phenyl-1,2-oxazole-4-carboxamide, displayed a robust interaction with the target crevice through 15 amino acid residues, an acceptable ΔG value of −7.8 kcal/mol, and a favorable pharmacokinetic profile with no adverse effects on humans. Hence, 3-{2-[(2-Methyl-2-propanyl)sulfonyl]phenyl}-5-phenyl-1,2-oxazole-4-carboxamide could emerge as a potent PLK-1-PBD inhibitor or might act as a 'seed' molecule for design of future inhibitors with a closely related backbone structure.


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