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Cathepsin S (CatS) is one of the cysteinyl cathepsins widely studied for its clinical significance and found to be a promising therapeutic target for several diseases; to name a few is arthritis, allergic inflammation, cancer, diabetes, obesity, and cystic fibrosis. Elevated CatS level is a contributing factor for related disorders, and therefore among different strategies to regulate the activity of CatS, one is to design a quality inhibitor. Earlier, we have demonstrated a highly selective CatS inhibitor, RO5444101 interacts primarily with the S2 pocket of the protein which is structurally unique in contrast to other variants of cathepsin. However, the molecular properties of RO5444101 can question its efficacy at the clinical level. In the present study, we have implemented a series of molecular modeling methods to screen the Maybridge library considering the pharmacophoric features of RO5444101 and other relevant inhibitors of CatS. Based on the priority list, eight hits were subjected to biological evaluation. Subsequently, KM07987 was found to be most potent, with the IC50 of <5 μM. Molecular dynamics simulations also relate to our experimental findings and propose the importance of CatS's S2 pocket, which primarily interacts with the inhibitors. Based on the S2 pocket interactions, structural modifications of the promising hits can further be translated into novel scaffolds for improved inhibition of CatS. Copyright © 2019 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Sabahuddin Ahmad, Sudha Bhagwati, Sushil Kumar, Dibyendu Banerjee, Mohammad Imran Siddiqi. Molecular modeling assisted identification and biological evaluation of potent cathepsin S inhibitors. Journal of molecular graphics & modelling. 2020 May;96:107512

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PMID: 31881466

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