Computational Simulations Identify Pyrrolidine-2,3-Dione Derivatives as Novel Inhibitors of Cdk5/p25 Complex to Attenuate Alzheimer’s Pathology
Mechanistically, neurotoxic insults provoke Ca2+-mediated calpain activation, which cleaves the cytoplasmic region of membrane-embedded p35 and produces its truncated form p25. Upon physical interaction, cyclin-dependent kinase 5 (Cdk5) and p25 forms hyperactivated Cdk5/p25 complex and causes severe neuropathological aberrations including hyperphosphorylated tau-mediated neurofibrillary tangles formation, Alzheimer’s symptoms, and neuronal death. Therefore, the inhibition of Cdk5/p25 complex may relieve p-tau-mediated Alzheimer’s pathology. Herein, computational simulations have identified pyrrolidine-2,3-dione derivatives as novel inhibitors of Cdk5/p25 complex. A ligand-based pharmacophore was designed and employed as 3D query to retrieve drug-like molecules from chemical databases. By molecular docking, drug-like molecules obtaining dock score > 67.67 (Goldcore of the reference compound) were identified. Molecular dynamics simulation and binding free energy calculation retrieved four pyrrolidine-2,3-dione derivatives as novel candidate inhibitors of Cdk5/p25. The root means square deviation of Cdk5/p25 in complex with candidate inhibitors obtained an average value of ~2.15 A during the 30 ns simulation period. Molecular interactions analysis suggested that each inhibitor occupied the ATP-binding site of Cdk5/p25 and formed stable interactions. Finally, the binding free energy estimation suggested that each inhibitor had lowest binding energy than the reference compound (−113.10 kJ/mol) to recapitulate their strong binding with Cdk5/p25. Overall, these inhibitors could mitigate tau-mediated Alzheimer’s phenotype.