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posted on 23.02.2021, 15:17 by Webster L. Santos, Anne M. Brown, Brittney L. Worrell, David R. Bevan
Alterations in cellular signaling pathways are associated with multiple disease states including cancers and fibrosis. Current research efforts to attenuate cancers, specifically lymphatic cancer, focus on inhibition of two sphingosine kinase isoforms, sphingosine kinase 1 (SphK1) and sphingosine kinase 2 (SphK2). Determining differences in structural and physicochemical binding site properties of SphKs is attractive to refine inhibitor potency and isoform selectivity. This study utilizes a predictive in silico approach to determine key differences in binding sites in SphK isoforms in human and mouse species. Homology modeling, molecular docking of inhibitors, analysis of binding pocket residue positions, development of pharmacophore models, and analysis of binding cavity volume were performed to determine isoform- and species-selective characteristics of the binding site and generate a system to rank potential inhibitors. Interestingly, docking studies showed compounds bound to mouse SphK1 in a manner more similar to human SphK2 than to human SphK1, indicating that SphKs in mice have structural properties distinct from humans that confounds prediction of ligand selectivity in mice. Our studies aid in the development and production of new compound classes by highlighting structural distinctions and identifying the role of key residues that cause observable, functional differences in isoforms and between orthologues.


NIH: R01 GM104366

NIH: R01 GM067958



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