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Eur J Med Chem. 2020 Mar 16;193:112235. doi: 10.1016/j.ejmech.2020.112235. [Epub ahead of print]

Carvedilol serves as a novel CYP1B1 inhibitor, a systematic drug repurposing approach through structure-based virtual screening and experimental verification.

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Wuya College of Innovation, Shenyang Pharmaceutical University, Shenyang, Liaoning, 110016, China.
Key Laboratory of Structure-Based Drug Design & Discovery, Ministry of Education, Shenyang Pharmaceutical University, Shenyang, Liaoning, 110016, China.
Wuya College of Innovation, Shenyang Pharmaceutical University, Shenyang, Liaoning, 110016, China. Electronic address:


Cytochrome P450 1B1 (CYP1B1) is a promising target for prevention and therapy of cancer, particularly those with drug resistance, stimulating cancer cell survival, and promoting cancer resistance. In view of the extreme complexity and high risk in drug discovery and development, a drug repurposing strategy was applied in the present study to find potential CYP1B1 inhibitors through structure-based virtual screening in the FDA database. Intriguingly, after a thorough assessment of docking scores, binding affinities, as well as binding modes, six compounds were highlighted for further verification. In fact, both carvedilol and indacaterol showed inhibitory activity towards human CYP1B1 with the IC50 of 1.11 μM and 59.52 μM, respectively, according to EROD assay; however, neither docking score nor the detailed binding mode of carvedilol in the hit pose dictated to be a superior CYP1B1 inhibitor to indacaterol, which called for the necessity to re-access the binding mode of carvedilol. Thus, the top two representative docking poses of carvedilol were re-assessed. Indeed, compared to the one hit in the virtual screening (due to a false positive Glide gscore), the other docking pose exhibited ideal performance in both molecular dynamics (MD) simulation, binding free energy, and density functional theory (DFT) calculation evaluations. This identification of the exact binding pose of carvedilol is not only essential for a better understanding of the mechanism underlying its activity, but also contributes to uncovering the structure-activity relationship of CYP1B1 inhibitors. Of note, carvedilol exhibited direct cytotoxicity against both human lung adenocarcinoma epithelial cell line A459 and its Taxol-resistant subline (A549/Taxol). In particular, it showed superior toxicity towards A549/Taxol cells that overexpressed CYP1B1, which further supported its potential to be an effective CYP1B1 inhibitor.


CYP1B1; Carvedilol; DFT; Drug repurposing; Molecular dynamics simulation; Virtual screening

Conflict of interest statement

Declaration of competing interest The authors declare that they have no known competing financial interests or personal relationships that could have appeared to influence the work reported in this paper.

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