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In Frontiers in chemistry ; h5-index 0.0

Malaria is a tropical infectious disease that affects over 219 million people worldwide. Due to the constant emergence of parasitic resistance to the current antimalarial drugs, the discovery of new antimalarial drugs is a global health priority. Multi-target drug discovery is a promising and innovative strategy for drug discovery and it is currently regarded as one of the best strategies to face drug resistance. Aiming to identify new multi-target antimalarial drug candidates, we developed an integrative computational approach to select multi-kinase inhibitors for Plasmodium falciparum calcium-dependent protein kinases 1 and 4 (CDPK1 and CDPK4) and protein kinase 6 (PK6). For this purpose, we developed and validated shape-based and machine learning models to prioritize compounds for experimental evaluation. Then, we applied the best models for virtual screening of a large commercial database of drug-like molecules. Ten computational hits were experimentally evaluated against asexual blood stages of both sensitive and multi-drug resistant P. falciparum strains. Among them, LabMol-171, LabMol-172, and LabMol-181 showed potent antiplasmodial activity at nanomolar concentrations (EC50 ≤ 700 nM) and selectivity indices >15 folds. In addition, LabMol-171 and LabMol-181 showed good in vitro inhibition of P. berghei ookinete formation and therefore represent promising transmission-blocking scaffolds. Finally, docking studies with protein kinases CDPK1, CDPK4, and PK6 showed structural insights for further hit-to-lead optimization studies.

Lima Marilia N N, Cassiano Gustavo C, Tomaz Kaira C P, Silva Arthur C, Sousa Bruna K P, Ferreira Leticia T, Tavella Tatyana A, Calit Juliana, Bargieri Daniel Y, Neves Bruno J, Costa Fabio T M, Andrade Carolina Horta


Plasmodium falciparum, machine learning, malaria, multi-target, shape-based, virtual screening