Discovery of 3-hydroxy-3-pyrrolin-2-one-based mPGES-1 inhibitors using a multi-step virtual screening protocol
Targeting microsomal prostaglandin E2 synthase-1 (mPGES-1) represents an efficient strategy for the development of novel drugs against inflammation and cancer with potentially reduced side effects. With this aim, a virtual screening was performed on a large library of commercially available molecules using the X-ray structure of mPGES-1 co-complexed with a potent inhibitor. Combining fast ligand-based shape alignment, molecular docking experiments, and qualitative analysis of the binding poses, a small set of molecules was selected for the subsequent steps of validation of the biological activity. Compounds 2 and 3, bearing the 3-hydroxy-3-pyrrolin-2-one nucleus, showed mPGES-1-inhibitory activity in the low micromolar range. These data highlighted the applicability of the reported virtual screening protocol for the selection of new mPGES-1 inhibitors as promising anti-inflammatory/anti-cancer drugs.