Structural insights of SmKDAC8 inhibitors: Targeting Schistosoma epigenetics through a combined structure-based 3D QSAR, in vitro and synthesis strategy

Bioorg Med Chem. 2017 Apr 1;25(7):2105-2132. doi: 10.1016/j.bmc.2017.02.020. Epub 2017 Feb 13.


A predictive structure-based 3D QSAR (COMBINEr 2.0) model of the Schistosoma mansoni lysine deacetylase 8 enzyme (SmKDAC8) was developed, validated and used to perform virtual screening (VS) of the NCI Diversity Set V database (1593 compounds). Three external datasets (with congeneric structures to those experimentally resolved in complexes by X-ray and previously reported as SmKDAC8 inhibitors) were employed to compose and validate the most predictive model. Two series characterized by 104 benzodiazepine derivatives (BZDs) and 60 simplified largazole analogs (SLAs), recently reported by our group as human KDAC inhibitors, were tested for their inhibition potency against SmKDAC8 to probe the predictive capability of the quantitative models against compounds with diverse structures. The SmKDAC8 biochemical results confirmed: (1) the benzodiazepine moiety as a valuable scaffold to further investigate when pursuing SmKDAC8 inhibition; (2) the predictive capability of the COMBINEr 2.0 model towards non-congeneric series of compounds, highlighting the most influencing ligand-protein interactions and refining the structure-activity relationships. From the VS investigations, the first 40 top-ranked compounds were obtained and biologically tested for their inhibition potency against SmKDAC8 and hKDACs 1, 3, 6 and 8. Among them, a non-hydroxamic acid benzothiadiazine dioxide derivative (code NSC163639), showed interesting activity and selectivity against SmKDAC8. To further elucidate the structure-activity relationships of NSC163639, two analogs (herein reported as compounds 3 and 4) were synthesized and biologically evaluated. Results suggest the benzothiadiazine dioxide moiety as a promising scaffold to be used in a next step to derive selective SmKDAC8 inhibitors.

Keywords: Electrophoretic Mobility Shift Assay (EMSA); Epigenetics; Histone Deacetylase (HDAC); Lysine Deacetylase (KDAC); Per-residue 3D QSAR (COMBINEr 2.0); Schistosoma mansoni; Structure-Based Drug Design (SBDD).

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Epigenesis, Genetic / drug effects*
  • Histone Deacetylase Inhibitors / chemistry
  • Histone Deacetylase Inhibitors / pharmacology*
  • Histone Deacetylases / metabolism*
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Molecular Docking Simulation
  • Molecular Structure
  • Quantitative Structure-Activity Relationship
  • Schistosoma mansoni / drug effects*
  • Schistosoma mansoni / enzymology
  • Schistosoma mansoni / genetics


  • Histone Deacetylase Inhibitors
  • Histone Deacetylases