Recent Publication: Characterizing the Chemical Space of ERK2 Kinase Inhibitors Using Descriptors Computed from Molecular Dynamics Trajectories

May 15, 2017



Quantitative Structure-Activity Relationship (QSAR) models typically rely on 2D and 3D molecular descriptors to characterize chemicals and forecast their experimental activities. Previously, we showed that even the most reliable 2D QSAR models and structure-based 3D molecular docking techniques were not capable of accurately ranking a set of known inhibitors for the ERK2 kinase, a key player in various types of cancer. Herein, we calculated and analyzed a series of chemical descriptors computed from the molecular dynamics (MD) trajectories of ERK2-ligand complexes. First, the docking of 87 ERK2 ligands with known binding affinities was accomplished using Schrodinger’s Glide software; then, solvent-explicit MD simulations (20 ns, NPT, 300K, TIP3P, 1fs) were performed using the GPU-accelerated Desmond program. Second, we calculated a series of MD descriptors based on the distributions of 3D descriptors computed for representative samples of the ligand’s conformations over the MD simulations. Third, we analyzed the dataset of 87 inhibitors in the MD chemical descriptor space. We showed that MD descriptors (i) had little correlation with conventionally used 2D/3D descriptors, (ii) were able to distinguish the most active ERK2 inhibitors from the moderate/weak actives and inactives, and (iii) provided key and complementary information about the unique characteristics of active ligands. This study represents the largest attempt to utilize MD-extracted chemical descriptors to characterize and model a series of bioactive molecules. MD descriptors could enable the next generation of hyper-predictive MD-QSAR models for computer-aided lead optimization and analogue prioritization.


Ash. J.; Fourches, D. Characterizing the Chemical Space of ERK2 Kinase Inhibitors Using Descriptors Computed from Molecular Dynamics Trajectories. J. Chem. Inf. Model. 2017Just Accepted.


The full text article can be accessed here.


The NCSU press release is available here.

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