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In this paper, we evaluated the drug-receptor interactions responsible for the antimicrobial activity of thymol, the major compound present in the essential oil (EO) of Lippia thymoides (L. thymoides) Mart. & Schauer (Verbenaceae). It was previously reported that this EO exhibits antimicrobial activity against Candida albicans (C. albicans), Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus), and Escherichia coli (E. coli). Therefore, we used molecular docking, molecular dynamics simulations, and free energy calculations to investigate the interaction of thymol with pharmacological receptors of interest to combat these pathogens. We found that thymol interacted favorably with the active sites of the microorganisms' molecular targets. MolDock Score results for systems formed with CYP51 (C. albicans), Dihydrofolate reductase (S. aureus), and Dihydropteroate synthase (E. coli) were -77.85, -67.53, and -60.88, respectively. Throughout the duration of the MD simulations, thymol continued interacting with the binding pocket of the molecular target of each microorganism. The van der Waals (ΔEvdW = -24.88, -26.44, -21.71 kcal/mol, respectively) and electrostatic interaction energies (ΔEele = -3.94, -11.07, -12.43 kcal/mol, respectively) and the nonpolar solvation energies (ΔGNP = -3.37, -3.25, -2.93 kcal/mol, respectively) were mainly responsible for the formation of complexes with CYP51 (C. albicans), Dihydrofolate reductase (S. aureus), and Dihydropteroate synthase (E. coli).


Jorddy Neves Cruz, Sebastião Gomes Silva, Daniel Santiago Pereira, Antônio Pedro da Silva Souza Filho, Mozaniel Santana de Oliveira, Rafael Rodrigues Lima, Eloisa Helena de Aguiar Andrade. In Silico Evaluation of the Antimicrobial Activity of Thymol-Major Compounds in the Essential Oil of Lippia thymoides Mart. & Schauer (Verbenaceae). Molecules (Basel, Switzerland). 2022 Jul 26;27(15)

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PMID: 35897944

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