In Silico Screening to Identify Inhibitors of Growth Factor Receptor 2–Focal Adhesion Kinase Interaction for Therapeutic Treatment of Pathological Cardiac Hypertrophy

Publication: Assay Drug Dev Technol


The focal adhesion kinase–growth factor receptor 2 (FAK–Grb2) protein–protein interaction is implicated in pathogenesis of stress-induced cardiac hypertrophy. The focal adhesion targeting (FAT) domain of FAK unfolds to form a structural intermediate that interacts with a multibinding hot spot in the SH2 domain of Grb2. Disruption of the Grb2–FAT interaction is a therapeutic strategy for prevention of pathological cardiac hypertrophy. A pharmacophore was generated on the basis of structural and electrostatic properties of FAT bound to FAK using the Forge tool (Cresset). This pharmacophore was used as a query for Blaze server (Cresset) to screen a selectively enriched chemical library of 4,32,508 small molecules. The compounds selected were further filtered by hierarchical flexible docking approach using AutoDock v4. From the favorably docked compounds, five were selected on the basis of good adsorption, distribution, metabolism, excretion, and toxicity (ADMET) properties using SwissADME, MedChem Designer v.3, and MOLINSPIRATION. Stability of the binding mode of the inhibitors was further confirmed by molecular dynamic simulation study with AMBER v15 for a simulation time of 50 ns in aqueous environment. PM2307 was identified as the best inhibitor in terms of pharmacophoric features, dock score, and in silico ADMET analysis. The calculated binding affinity of PM2307 was better than that of the FAT–Grb2 complex as well as a previously reported small molecule inhibitor. PM2307 is also a quinolyl derivative sharing a similar scaffold with ofloxacin drugs, asserting its drug-like properties. Thus, it was proposed as a lead compound for development of drugs for pathological cardiac hypertrophy.