Background: Checkpoint kinase 1 (Chk1) has emerged as a potential therapeutic target for
design and development of novel anticancer drugs.
Objective: Herein, we have performed three-dimensional quantitative structure-activity relationship
(3D-QSAR) and molecular docking analyses on a series of diazacarbazoles to design potent Chk1 inhibitors.
Methods: 3D-QSAR models were developed using comparative molecular field analysis (CoMFA) and
comparative molecular similarity indices analysis (CoMSIA) techniques. Docking studies were performed
Results: The best CoMFA and CoMSIA models exhibited cross-validated correlation coefficient (q2)
values of 0.631 and 0.585, and non-cross-validated correlation coefficient (r2) values of 0.933 and
0.900, respectively. CoMFA and CoMSIA models showed reasonable external predictabilities (r2
0.672 and 0.513, respectively.
Conclusion: A satisfactory performance in the various internal and external validation techniques indicated
the reliability and robustness of the best model. Docking studies were performed to explore the
binding mode of inhibitors inside the active site of Chk1. Molecular docking revealed that hydrogen
bond interactions with Lys38, Glu85 and Cys87 are essential for Chk1 inhibitory activity. The binding
interaction patterns observed during docking studies were complementary to 3D-QSAR results. Information
obtained from the contour map analysis was utilized to design novel potent Chk1 inhibitors.
Their activities and binding affinities were predicted using the derived model and docking studies. Designed
inhibitors were proposed as potential candidates for experimental synthesis.