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Automated Design of Macrocycles for Therapeutic Applications: From Small Molecules to Peptides and Proteins

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posted on 2020-10-05, 21:12 authored by Dan Sindhikara, Michael Wagner, Paraskevi Gkeka, Stefan Güssregen, Garima Tiwari, Gerhard Hessler, Engin Yapici, Ziyu Li, Andreas Evers
Macrocycles and cyclic peptides are increasingly attractive therapeutic modalities as they often have improved affinity, are able to bind to extended protein surfaces, and otherwise have favorable properties. Macrocyclization of a known binder may stabilize its bioactive conformation and improve its metabolic stability, cell permeability, and in certain cases oral bioavailability. Herein, we present implementation and application of an approach that automatically generates, evaluates, and proposes cyclizations utilizing a library of well-established chemical reactions and reagents. Using the three-dimensional (3D) conformation of the linear molecule in complex with a target protein as the starting point, this approach identifies attachment points, generates linkers, evaluates their geometric compatibility, and ranks the resulting molecules with respect to their predicted conformational stability and interactions with the target protein. As we show here with prospective and retrospective case studies, this procedure can be applied for the macrocyclization of small molecules and peptides and even PROteolysis TArgeting Chimeras (PROTACs) and proteins.

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