Pharmacoinformatics approach for the identification of Polo-like kinase-1 inhibitors from natural sources as anti-cancer agents

Int J Biol Macromol. 2018 Sep;116:173-181. doi: 10.1016/j.ijbiomac.2018.05.023. Epub 2018 May 5.


Polo-like kinase-1 (PLK-1) plays a key role in cell cycle progression during mitosis. Overexpression/dysfunction of PLK-1 is directly associated with cancerous transformation and has been reported in different cancer types. Here, we employed high throughput virtual screening and molecular docking to screen Selleck's natural compound library against PLK-1 kinase domain. We have identified eight bioactive compounds (Apigenin, Dihydromyricetin, Diosmetin, Hesperidin, Hesperitin, Naringenin, Phlorizi, and Quercetin) as the potential inhibitors of PLK-1. Further investigation through Molecular Mechanics-Generalized Born Surface Area (MM-GBSA) calculations and 15 ns molecular dynamics simulation revealed that hesperidin formed the most stable complex with PLK-1 kinase domain. Altogether, our results indicate that hesperidin interacted strongly with the key residues of the PLK-1 active site (such as Leu59, Lys61, Lys82, Cys133, Asn181, Asp194, Leu59, Cys67, Ala80, Val114, Leu130, Leu132, Cys133, Leu139, Phe183, and Phe195) through hydrogen bonding and hydrophobic interactions. The Hesperidin-PLK-1 complex was stabilized by Gibb's free energy of -13.235 kcal/mol which corresponded to the binding affinity of 5.095 × 109 M-1. This is the first study wherein hesperidin has been identified as a potential inhibitor of PLK-1. Further design and optimization of the hesperidin scaffold as an inhibitor of PLK-1 kinase domain is highly recommended.

Keywords: Cancer therapy; Cell cycle arrest; Docking and simulation; PLK-1; Schrodinger; Ser/Thr kinases.

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / chemistry*
  • Catalytic Domain / drug effects
  • Cell Cycle Proteins / metabolism*
  • Hesperidin / chemistry
  • Molecular Docking Simulation / methods
  • Protein Domains / drug effects
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors / chemistry*
  • Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases / metabolism*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / metabolism*


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Cell Cycle Proteins
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • Hesperidin
  • Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • polo-like kinase 1