Discovery of Small Molecules That Target Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Receptor-2 Signalling Pathway Employing Molecular Modelling Studies
Angiogenesis is defined as the formation of new blood vessels and is a key phenomenon manifested in a host of cancers during which tyrosine kinases play a crucial role. Vascular endothelial growth factor receptor-2 (VEGFR-2) is pivotal in cancer angiogenesis, which warrants the urgency of discovering new anti-angiogenic inhibitors that target the signalling pathways. To obtain this objective, a structure-based pharmacophore model was built from the drug target VEGFR-2 (PDB code: 4AG8), complexed with axitinib and was subsequently validated and employed as a 3D query to retrieve the candidate compounds with the key inhibitory features. The model was escalated to molecular docking studies resulting in seven candidate compounds. The molecular docking studies revealed that the seven compounds displayed a higher dock score than the reference-cocrystallised compound. The GROningen MAchine for Chemical Simulations (GROMACS) package guided molecular dynamics (MD) results determined their binding mode and affirmed stable root mean square deviation. Furthermore, these compounds have preserved their key interactions with the residues Glu885, Glu917, Cys919 and Asp1046. The obtained findings deem that the seven compounds could act as novel anti-angiogenic inhibitors and may further assist as the prototype in designing and developing new inhibitors.