Pharmacophore Modeling, Virtual and In Vitro Screening for Acetylcholinesterase Inhibitors and their Effects on Amyloid-β Self- Assembly
One of the most promising methods of unveiling the pharmacology of marketed drugs is to screen them against
new biological targets. In an attempt to find inhibitors for acetylcholinesterase (AChE), the Drug Bank Database and
natural alkaloids with other known medicinal values were screened through a four-point pharmacophore built in this
study. The development of the pharmacophore was based on a structurally diverse set of reported AChE inhibitors and
was validated using a separate set of known inhibitors. The developed pharmacophore indicated that the presence of one
H-acceptor motif, one H-donor motif, one positively charged group and one aromatic ring is needed for AChE inhibition.
Selected hits were further investigated by molecular docking and in vitro testing. The assays revealed that the majority of
these compounds showed reasonable inhibition, indicating that the developed pharmacophore can indeed reliably screen
molecules for potential AChE inhibitors. It appears that several commercially available marketed drugs have further
potential as AChE inhibitors. To extend our study the same compounds have been tested in the fibrillogenesis inhibition
of amyloid β (Aβ) peptide to explore the possibility of their dual-function therapeutic activity in Alzheimer’s disease.
Keywords: Alzheimer’s disease, acetylcholinesterase, AChE inhibitors, pharmacophore, docking, amyloid β self-assembly,
drug bank database, alkaloids, Schrödinger
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