Identification of Sesamin from Sesamum indicum as a Potent Antifungal Agent Using an Integrated in Silico and Biological Screening Platform

Molecules. 2023 Jun 9;28(12):4658. doi: 10.3390/molecules28124658.


Due to the limited availability of antifungal drugs, their relevant side effects and considering the insurgence of drug-resistant strains, novel antifungal agents are urgently needed. To identify such agents, we have developed an integrated computational and biological screening platform. We have considered a promising drug target in antifungal drug discovery (exo-1,3-β-glucanase) and a phytochemical library composed of bioactive natural products was used. These products were computationally screened against the selected target using molecular docking and molecular dynamics techniques along with the evaluation of drug-like profile. We selected sesamin as the most promising phytochemical endowed with a potential antifungal profile and satisfactory drug-like properties. Sesamin was submitted to a preliminary biological evaluation to test its capability to inhibit the growth of several Candida species by calculating the MIC/MFC and conducting synergistic experiments with the marketed drug fluconazole. Following the screening protocol, we identified sesamin as a potential exo-1,3-β-glucanase inhibitor, with relevant potency in inhibiting the growth of Candida species in a dose-dependent manner (MIC and MFC of 16 and 32 µg/mL, respectively). Furthermore, the combination of sesamin with fluconazole highlighted relevant synergistic effects. The described screening protocol revealed the natural product sesamin as a potential novel antifungal agent, showing an interesting predicted pharmacological profile, paving the way to the development of innovative therapeutics against fungal infections. Notably, our screening protocol can be helpful in antifungal drug discovery.

Keywords: Candida species; antifungal agents; computer-aided drug discovery; exo-1,3-β-glucanase; synergism; virtual screening.

MeSH terms

  • Antifungal Agents* / chemistry
  • Antifungal Agents* / pharmacology
  • Candida
  • Drug Resistance, Fungal
  • Fluconazole / pharmacology
  • Glucan 1,3-beta-Glucosidase / pharmacology
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Molecular Docking Simulation
  • Phytochemicals / pharmacology
  • Sesamum*


  • Antifungal Agents
  • Fluconazole
  • sesamin
  • Glucan 1,3-beta-Glucosidase
  • Phytochemicals

Grants and funding

This research received no external funding.