Background: Chagas disease, caused by the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi, represents a worldwide epidemiological, economic, and social problem. In the last decades, the trans-sialidase enzyme of Trypanosoma cruzi has been considered an attractive target for the development of new agents with potential trypanocidal activity.
Objective: In this work, the aim was to find new potential non-sugar trans-sialidase inhibitors using benzoic acid as a scaffold.
Methods: A structure-based virtual screening of the ZINC15 database was carried out. Additionally, the enzyme and trypanocidal activity of the selected compounds was determined.
Results: The results of this work detected 487 compounds derived from benzoic acid as potential transsialidase inhibitors with a more promising binding energy value (< -7.7 kcal/mol) than the known inhibitor 2,3-dehydro-2-deoxy-N-acetylneuraminic acid (DANA). In particular, two lead compounds, V1 and V2, turned out to be promising trans-sialidase inhibitors. Even though the trypanocidal activity displayed was low, these compounds showed trans-sialidase inhibition values of 87.6% and 29.6%, respectively.
Conclusion: Structure-based virtual screening using a molecular docking approach is a useful method for the identification of new trans-sialidase inhibitors.