13 Apr 2021
Pharmaceuticals (Basel, Switzerland);
Due to the genetic similarity between SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV, the present work endeavored to derive a balanced Quantitative Structure-Activity Relationship (QSAR) model, molecular docking, and molecular dynamics (MD) simulation studies to identify novel molecules having inhibitory potential against the main protease (Mpro) of SARS-CoV-2. The QSAR analysis developed on multivariate GA-MLR (Genetic Algorithm-Multilinear Regression) model with acceptable statistical performance (R
= 0.898, Q
loo = 0.859, etc.). QSAR analysis attributed the good correlation with different types of atoms like non-ring Carbons and Nitrogens, amide Nitrogen, sp
-hybridized Carbons, etc. Thus, the QSAR model has a good balance of qualitative and quantitative requirements (balanced QSAR model) and satisfies the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) guidelines. After that, a QSAR-based virtual screening of 26,467 food compounds and 360 heterocyclic variants of molecule
(benzotriazole-indole hybrid molecule) helped to identify promising hits. Furthermore, the molecular docking and molecular dynamics (MD) simulations of Mpro with molecule
recognized the structural motifs with significant stability. Molecular docking and QSAR provided consensus and complementary results. The validated analyses are capable of optimizing a drug/lead candidate for better inhibitory activity against the main protease of SARS-CoV-2.