Biological and Medicinal Chemistry

Computational Evaluation of Bioactive Compounds from Viscum album (Mistletoe) as Inhibitors of p63 for Pancreatic Cancer Treatment

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Abstract

Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma is an aggressive malignancy usually detectable at the advanced stage, with a 5-year survival rate of less than 8%. It has been reported that a gene called tumor-protein 63 (TP63) is expressed in an aggressive form of pancreatic cancer with a squamous signature. Thus, inhibiting the activity of p63 can be a means of treating and managing PDA. Different studies have shown that plant constituents are rich and can be a promising source for discovering drug candidates. The extract from mistletoe (Viscum album) is known to contain anticancer compounds; however, the specific molecular mechanism of the bioactive compounds is unknown. This study examines the pancreatic cancer therapeutic potential of the bioactive compounds in the flavonoid and phenolic acid constituents of mistletoe by adopting structural bioinformatics and advanced theoretical chemistry techniques via molecular docking, molecular dynamics simulation, molecular mechanics/ generalized Born surface area (MM/GBSA) calculations, pharmacokinetic analysis, and density functional theory analysis. The six best compounds from the flavonoid constituent with the highest binding affinity ranging from -6.8 kcal/mol to -6.7 kcal/mol were selected with the control gemcitabine (-5.5 kcal/mol) for further computational analysis after molecular docking. Furthermore, MM/GBSA calculation showed the highest binding energy for the selected docked compounds, which validates their inhibitory potential. Hence, the molecular dynamics simulation, post-simulation analysis, pharmacokinetics model, and DFT results showed that mistletoe compounds are reliable due to their stable interaction with the target protein and drug-likeness properties.

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