Publication Details

Nguyen, P. T. V., Yu, H. & Keller, P. A. (2015). Identification of chikungunya virus nsP2 protease inhibitors using structure-base approaches. Journal of Molecular Graphics and Modelling, 57 1-8.


The nsP2 protease of chikungunya virus (CHIKV) is one of the essential components of viral replication and it plays a crucial role in the cleavage of polyprotein precursors for the viral replication process. Therefore, it is gaining attention as a potential drug design target against CHIKV. Based on the recently determined crystal structure of the nsP2 protease of CHIKV, this study identified potential inhibitors of the virus using structure-based approaches with a combination of molecular docking, virtual screening and molecular dynamics (MD) simulations. The top hit compounds from database searching, using the NCI Diversity Set II, with targeting at five potential binding sites of the nsP2 protease, were identified by blind dockings and focused dockings. These complexes were then subjected to MD simulations to investigate the stability and flexibility of the complexes and to gain a more detailed insight into the interactions between the compounds and the enzyme. The hydrogen bonds and hydrophobic contacts were characterized for the complexes. Through structural alignment, the catalytic residues Cys1013 and His1083 were identified in the N-terminal region of the nsP2 protease. The absolute binding free energies were estimated by the linear interaction energy approach and compared with the binding affinities predicted with docking. The results provide valuable information for the development of inhibitors for CHIKV.

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