Background: Designing a novel antagonist against p38 is being applied currently to inhibit hepatocellular carcinoma. Protein–ligand interaction plays a major role in the identification of the possible mechanism which exerts the pharmacological action. The involvement of p38 remains an important target for anticancer drug development as its activation to induces apoptosis in hepatoma cells
Objective: The aim is to identify the best candidate from the plants of N. sativa which binds with the hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) targets by computational approach.
Materials and Methods: The reported phytoconstituents such as thymoquinone and thymol present in the plant, N. sativa were docked with the HCC target such as p38. Structures of phytoconstituents were prepared using ChemDraw Ultra 10 software and converted into its 3D PDB structure and minimized using Discovery Studio client 2.5. The target protein, p38 was retrieved from RCSB PDB. Lipinski’s rule and ADMET toxicity profiling were carried out on the phytoconstituents of the N. sativa, and the compounds were further promoted for molecular docking and MD simulation analysis.
Results: The docking results revealed promising inhibitory potential of thymoquinone against p38 with binding energy of -7.67 kcal/mole as compared to its known standard doxorubicin having binding energy of -6.68 kcal/mol respectively. Further, molecular dynamics (MD) simulations for 5ns were conducted for optimization, flexibility prediction, and determination of folded p38 stability. The p38-thymoquinone complex was found to be quite stable with RMSD value of 0.2nm.
Conclusion: Obtained results propose thymoquinone binding energy with the select targets. Hence, this compound bears outstanding potential against hepatocellular carcinoma and has to be taken up for experimental work against hepatocellular carcinoma.
Keywords: Nigella sativa, phytoconstituents, hepatocellular carcinoma, molecular docking, simulation.
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