Molecular modeling and pharmacophore elucidation study of the Classical Swine Fever virus helicase as a promising pharmacological target

PeerJ. 2013 Jun 11;1:e85. doi: 10.7717/peerj.85. Print 2013.


The Classical Swine Fever virus (CSFV) is a major pathogen of livestock and belongs to the flaviviridae viral family. Even though there aren't any verified zoonosis cases yet, the outcomes of CSFV epidemics have been devastating to local communities. In an effort to shed light to the molecular mechanisms underlying the structural and drug design potential of the viral helicase, the three dimensional structure of CSFV helicase has been modeled using conventional homology modeling techniques and the crystal structure of the Hepatitis C virus (HCV) as a template. The established structure of the CSFV helicase has been in silico evaluated for its viability using a repertoire of in silico tools. The ultimate goal of this study is to introduce the 3D conformation of the CSFV helicase as a reliable structure that may be used as the designing platform for de novo, structure-based drug design experiments. In this direction using the modeled structure of CSVF helicase, a 3D pharmacophore was designed. The pharmacophore comprises of a series of key characteristics that molecular inhibitors must satisfy in order to achieve maximum predicted affinity for the given enzyme. Overall, invaluable insights and conclusions are drawn from this structural study of the CSFV helicase, which may provide the scientific community with the founding plinth in the fight against CSFV infections through the perspective of the CSFV helicase as a potential pharmacological target. Notably, to date no antiviral agent is available against the CSFV nor is expected soon. Subsequently, there is urgent need for new modern and state-of-the-art antiviral strategies to be developed.

Keywords: Antiviral; Bioinformatics; Classical Swine Fever virus; Molecular modeling; Pharmacophore.

Grant support

The authors received no funding for this study.