Structure-based virtual screening and in vitro evaluation of new trypanosoma cruzi cruzain inhibitors

Verónica Herrera-Mayorga, Edgar E. Lara-Ramírez, Karla F. Chacón-Vargas, Charmina Aguirre-Alvarado, Lorena Rodríguez-Páez, Verónica Alcántara-Farfán, Joaquín Cordero-Martínez, Benjamín Nogueda-Torres, Francisco Reyes-Espinosa, Virgilio Bocanegra-García, Gildardo Rivera

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


© 2019 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. Chagas disease (CD), or American trypanosomiasis, causes more than 10,000 deaths per year in the Americas. Current medical therapy for CD has low efficacy in the chronic phase of the disease and serious adverse effects; therefore, it is necessary to search for new pharmacological treatments. In this work, the ZINC15 database was filtered using the N-acylhydrazone moiety and a subsequent structure-based virtual screening was performed using the cruzain enzyme of Trypanosoma cruzi to predict new potential cruzain inhibitors. After a rational selection process, four compounds, Z2 (ZINC9873043), Z3 (ZINC9870651), Z5 (ZINC9715287), and Z6 (ZINC9861447), were chosen to evaluate their in vitro trypanocidal activity and enzyme inhibition. Compound Z5 showed the best trypanocidal activity against epimatigote (IC50 = 36.26 ± 9.9 µM) and trypomastigote (IC50 = 166.21 ± 14.5 µM and 185.1 ± 8.5 µM on NINOA and INC-5 strains, respectively) forms of Trypanosoma cruzi. In addition, Z5 showed a better inhibitory effect on Trypanosoma cruzi proteases than S1 (STK552090, 8-chloro-N-(3-morpholinopropyl)-5H-pyrimido[5,4-b]-indol-4-amine), a known cruzain inhibitor. This study encourages the use of computational tools for the rational search for trypanocidal drugs.
Original languageAmerican English
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2019

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