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J Med Chem. 2004 Sep 23;47(20):4818-28.

Efficient method for high-throughput virtual screening based on flexible docking: discovery of novel acetylcholinesterase inhibitors.

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  • 1Institute of Medicinal Molecular Design, Inc., 5-24-5 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-0033, Japan.


A method of easily finding ligands, with a variety of core structures, for a given target macromolecule would greatly contribute to the rapid identification of novel lead compounds for drug development. We have developed an efficient method for discovering ligand candidates from a number of flexible compounds included in databases, when the three-dimensional (3D) structure of the drug target is available. The method, named ADAM&EVE, makes use of our automated docking method ADAM, which has already been reported. Like ADAM, ADAM&EVE takes account of the flexibility of each molecule in databases, by exploring the conformational space fully and continuously. Database screening has been made much faster than with ADAM through the tuning of parameters, so that computational screening of several hundred thousand compounds is possible in a practical time. Promising ligand candidates can be selected according to various criteria based on the docking results and characteristics of compounds. Furthermore, we have developed a new tool, EVE-MAKE, for automatically preparing the additional compound data necessary for flexible docking calculation, prior to 3D database screening. Among several successful cases of lead discovery by ADAM&EVE, the finding of novel acetylcholinesterase (AChE) inhibitors is presented here. We performed a virtual screening of about 160 000 commercially available compounds against the X-ray crystallographic structure of AChE. Among 114 compounds that could be purchased and assayed, 35 molecules with various core structures showed inhibitory activities with IC(50) values less than 100 microM. Thirteen compounds had IC(50) values between 0.5 and 10 microM, and almost all their core structures are very different from those of known inhibitors. The results demonstrate the effectiveness and validity of the ADAM&EVE approach and provide a starting point for development of novel drugs to treat Alzheimer's disease.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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