Molecular Docking Studies to Map the Binding Site of Squalene Synthase Inhibitors on Dehydrosqualene Synthase of Staphylococcus aureus

Dehydrosqualene synthase of Staphylococcus aureus is involved in the synthesis of golden carotenoid pigment staphyloxanthin. This pigment of S. aureus provides the antioxidant property to this bacterium to survive inside the host cell. Dehydrosqualene synthase (CrtM) is having structural similarity with the human squalene synthase enzyme which is involved in the cholesterol synthesis pathway in humans (Liu et al., 2008). Cholesterol lowering drugs were found to have inhibitory effect on dehydrosqualene synthase enzyme of S. aureus. The present study attempts to focus on squalene synthase inhibitors, lapaquistat acetate and squalestatins reported as cholesterol lowering agents in vitro and in vivo but not studied in context to dehydrosqualene synthase of S. aureus. Mode of binding of lapaquistat acetate and squalestatin analogs on dehydrosqualene synthase (CrtM) enzyme of S. aureus was identified by performing docking analysis with Scigress Explorer Ultra 7.7 docking software. Based on the molecular docking analysis, it was found that the His18, Arg45, Asp48, Asp52, Tyr129, Gln165, Asn168 and Asp172 residues interacted with comparatively high frequency with the inhibitors studied. Comparative docking study with Discovery studio 2.0 also confirmed the involvement of these residues of dehydrosqualene synthase enzyme with the inhibitors studied. This further confirms the importance of these residues in the enzyme function. In silico ADMET analysis was done to predict the ADMET properties of the standard drugs and test compounds. This might provide insights to develop new drugs to target the virulence factor, dehydrosqualene synthase of S. aureus.

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