Cyanobacteria are able to produce a wide range of secondary metabolites, including toxins and protease inhibitors, with diverse biological activities. Microginins are small linear peptides biosynthesized by cyanobacteria species that act against proteases. The aim of this study was to isolate and identify microginins produced by the LTPNA08 strain of Microcystis aeruginosa, as well as to verify their potential to inhibit angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE; EC. 18.104.22.168) using in vitro and in silico methods. The fractionation of cyanobacterial extracts was performed by liquid chromatography and the presence of microginins was monitored by both LC-MS and an ACE inhibition assay. Enzyme inhibition was assayed by ACE with hippuryl-histidyl-leucine as the substrate; monitoring of hippuric acid was performed by HPLC-DAD. Isolated microginins were confirmed by mass spectrometry and were used to carry out the enzymatic assay. Molecular docking was used to evaluate microginin 770 (MG 770) and captopril (positive control), in order to predict similar binding interactions and determine the inhibitory action of ACE. The enzyme assay confirmed that MG 770 can efficiently inhibit ACE, with an IC50 equivalent to other microginins. MG 770 presented with comparable interactions with ACE, having features in common with commercial inhibitors such as captopril and enalaprilate, which are frequently used in the treatment of hypertension in humans.
Keywords: ACE inhibition; Microcystis; cyanobacteria; microginin; virtual screening.