Computational analyses of interactions between ALK-5 and bioactive ligands: insights for the design of potential anticancer agents

<p>Activin Receptor-Like Kinase 5 (ALK-5) is related to some types of cancer, such as breast, lung, and pancreas. In this study, we have used molecular docking, molecular dynamics simulations, and free energy calculations in order to explore key interactions between ALK-5 and six bioactive ligands with different ranges of biological activity. The motivation of this work is the lack of crystal structure for inhibitor–protein complexes for this set of ligands. The understanding of the molecular structure and the protein–ligand interaction could give support for the development of new drugs against cancer. The results show that the calculated binding free energy using MM-GBSA, MM-PBSA, and SIE is correlated with experimental data with <i>r</i><sup>2</sup> = 0.88, 0.80, and 0.94, respectively, which indicates that the calculated binding free energy is in excellent agreement with experimental data. In addition, the results demonstrate that H bonds with Lys232, Glu245, Tyr249, His283, Asp351, and one structural water molecule play an important role for the inhibition of ALK-5. Overall, we discussed the main interactions between ALK-5 and six inhibitors that may be used as starting points for designing new molecules to the treatment of cancer.</p>