Journal of computer-aided molecular design

Mapping of the interaction sites of galanthamine: a quantitative analysis through pairwise potentials and quantum chemistry.

PMID 22972560


A quantitative analysis of the interaction sites of the anti-Alzheimer drug galanthamine with molecular probes (water and benzene molecules) representative of its surroundings in the binding site of acetylcholinesterase (AChE) has been realized through pairwise potentials calculations and quantum chemistry. This strategy allows a full and accurate exploration of the galanthamine potential energy surface of interaction. Significantly different results are obtained according to the distances of approaches between the various molecular fragments and the conformation of the galanthamine N-methyl substituent. The geometry of the most relevant complexes has then been fully optimized through MPWB1K/6-31 + G(d,p) calculations, final energies being recomputed at the LMP2/aug-cc-pVTZ(-f) level of theory. Unexpectedly, galanthamine is found to interact mainly from its hydrogen-bond donor groups. Among those, CH groups in the vicinity of the ammonium group are prominent. The trends obtained provide rationales to the predilection of the equatorial orientation of the galanthamine N-methyl substituent for binding to AChE. The analysis of the interaction energies pointed out the independence between the various interaction sites and the rigid character of galanthamine. The comparison between the cluster calculations and the crystallographic observations in galanthamine-AChE co-crystals allows the validation of the theoretical methodology. In particular, the positions of several water molecules appearing as strongly conserved in galanthamine-AChE co-crystals are predicted by the calculations. Moreover, the experimental position and orientation of lateral chains of functionally important aminoacid residues are in close agreement with the ones predicted theoretically. Our study provides relevant information for a rational drug design of galanthamine based AChE inhibitors.

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Galanthamine hydrobromide from Lycoris sp., ≥94% (HPLC)
C17H21NO3 · HBr