Abstract Title:

Ursolic acid as a potential inhibitor of Mycobacterium tuberculosis cytochrome bc1 oxidase-a molecular modelling perspective.

Abstract Source:

J Mol Model. 2022 Jan 13 ;28(2):35. Epub 2022 Jan 13. PMID: 35022913

Abstract Author(s):

Ntombikayise Tembe, Kgothatso E Machaba, Umar Ndagi, Hezekiel M Kumalo, Ndumiso N Mhlongo

Article Affiliation:

Ntombikayise Tembe


The escalating burden of tuberculosis disease and drastic effects of current medicine has stimulated a search for alternative drugs. A medicinal plant Warburgia salutaris has been reported to possess inhibitory properties against M. tuberculosis. In this study, we apply computational methods to investigate the probability of W. salutaris compounds as potential inhibitors of M. tuberculosis QcrB protein. We performed molecular docking, molecular dynamics simulations, radius of gyration, principal component analysis (PCA), and molecular mechanics-generalized born surface area (MM-GBSA) binding-free energy calculations in explicit solvent to achieve our objective. The results suggested that ursolic acid (UA) and ursolic acid acetate (UAA) could serve as preferred potential inhibitors of mycobacterial QcrB compared to lansoprazole sulphide (LSPZ) and telacebec (Q203)-UA and UAA have a higher binding affinity to QcrB compared to LSPZ and Q203 drugs. UA binding affinity is attributed to hydrogen bond formation with Val120, Arg364 and Arg366, and largely resonated from van der Waals forces resulting from UA interactions with hydrophobic amino acids in its vicinity. UAA binds to the porphyrin ring binding site with higher binding affinity compared to LSPZ. The binding affinity results primarily from van der Waals forces between UAA and hydrophobic residues of QcrB in the porphyrin ring binding site where UAA binds competitively. UA and UAA formed stable complexes with the protein with reduced overall residue mobility, consequently supporting the magnitude of binding affinity of the respective ligands. UAA could potentially compete with the porphyrin ring for the binding site and deprive the mycobacterial cell from oxygen, consequently disturbing mycobacterial oxygen-dependent metabolic processes. Therefore, discovery of a compound that competes with porphyrin ring for the binding site may be useful in QcrB pharmocological studies. UA proved to be a superior compound, although its estimated toxicity profile revealed UA to be hepatotoxic within acceptable parameters. Although preliminary findings of this report still warrant experimental validation, they could serve as a baseline for the development of new anti-tubercular drugs from natural resources that target QcrB.

Study Type : In Vitro Study

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