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The selective targeting of the cannabinoid receptor 2 (CB2) is crucial for the development of peripheral system-acting cannabinoid analgesics. This work aimed at computer-assisted identification of prospective CB2-selective compounds among the constituents of Cannabis Sativa. The molecular structures and corresponding binding affinities to CB1 and CB2 receptors were collected from ChEMBL. The molecular structures of Cannabis Sativa constituents were collected from a phytochemical database. The collected records were curated and applied for the development of quantitative structure-activity relationship (QSAR) models with a machine learning approach. The validated models predicted the affinities of Cannabis Sativa constituents. Four structures of CB2 were acquired from the Protein Data Bank (PDB) and the discriminatory ability of CB2-selective ligands and two sets of decoys were tested. We succeeded in developing the QSAR model by achieving Q2 5-CV > 0.62. The QSAR models helped to identify three prospective CB2-selective molecules that are dissimilar to already tested compounds. In a complementary structure-based virtual screening study that used available PDB structures of CB2, the agonist-bound, Cryogenic Electron Microscopy structure of CB2 showed the best statistical performance in discriminating between CB2-active and non-active ligands. The same structure also performed best in discriminating between CB2-selective ligands from non-selective ligands.


Mikołaj Mizera, Dorota Latek, Judyta Cielecka-Piontek. Virtual Screening of C. Sativa Constituents for the Identification of Selective Ligands for Cannabinoid Receptor 2. International journal of molecular sciences. 2020 Jul 26;21(15)

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PMID: 32722631

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