Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) are calcium-dependent zinc-containing endopeptidases involved in multiple cellular processes. Among the MMP isoforms, MMP-9 regulates cancer invasion, rheumatoid arthritis, and osteoarthritis by degrading extracellular matrix proteins present in the tumor microenvironment and cartilage and promoting angiogenesis. Here, we identified two potent natural product inhibitors of the non-catalytic hemopexin domain of MMP-9 using a novel quantum mechanical fragment molecular orbital (FMO)-based virtual screening workflow. The workflow integrates qualitative pharmacophore modeling, quantitative binding affinity prediction, and a raw material search of natural product inhibitors with the BMDMS-NP library. In binding affinity prediction, we made a scoring function with the FMO method and applied the function to two protein targets (acetylcholinesterase and fibroblast growth factor 1 receptor) from DUD-E benchmark sets. In the two targets, the FMO method outperformed the Glide docking score and MM/PBSA methods. By applying this workflow to MMP-9, we proposed two potent natural product inhibitors (laetanine 9 and genkwanin 10) that interact with hotspot residues of the hemopexin domain of MMP-9. Laetanine 9 and genkwanin 10 bind to MMP-9 with a dissociation constant (KD) of 21.6 and 0.614 µM, respectively. Overall, we present laetanine 9 and genkwanin 10 for MMP-9 and demonstrate that the novel FMO-based workflow with a quantum mechanical approach is promising to discover potent natural product inhibitors of MMP-9, satisfying the pharmacophore model and good binding affinity.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Funding: This research was financially supported by the Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Energy (MOTIE), Korea, under the “Infrastructure Support Program for Industry Innovation” (reference number P0014714), supervised by the Korea Institute for Advancement of Technology (KIAT).
© 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Computer Science Applications
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
- Organic Chemistry
- Inorganic Chemistry