In Silico Design and Selection of CD44 Antagonists: implementation of computational methodologies in drug discovery and design

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Drug discovery (DD) is a process that aims to identify drug candidates through a thorough evaluation of the biological activity of small molecules or biomolecules. Computational strategies (CS) are now necessary tools for speeding up DD. Chapter 1 describes the use of CS throughout the DD process, from the early stages of drug design to the use of artificial intelligence for the de novo design of therapeutic molecules. Chapter 2 describes an in-silico workflow for identifying potential high-affinity CD44 antagonists, ranging from structural analysis of the target to the analysis of ligand-protein interactions and molecular dynamics (MD). In Chapter 3, we tested the shape-guided algorithm on a dataset of macrocycles, identifying the characteristics that need to be improved for the development of new tools for macrocycle sampling and design. In Chapter 4, we describe a detailed reverse docking protocol for identifying potential 4-hydroxycoumarin (4-HC) targets. The strategy described in this chapter is easily transferable to other compounds and protein datasets for overcoming bottlenecks in molecular docking protocols, particularly reverse docking approaches. Finally, Chapter 5 shows how computational methods and experimental results can be used to repurpose compounds as potential COVID-19 treatments. According to our findings, the HCV drug boceprevir could be clinically tested or used as a lead molecule to develop compounds that target COVID-19 or other coronaviral infections. These chapters, in summary, demonstrate the importance, application, limitations, and future of computational methods in the state-of-the-art drug design process.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • University of Groningen
  • Dömling, Alex, Supervisor
  • Velasco-Velazquez, Marco A., Supervisor, External person
Award date10-Dec-2021
Place of Publication[Groningen]
Publication statusPublished - 2021


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