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Macromolecular Targets of Antiparasitic Germacranolide Sesquiterpenoids: An In Silico Investigation

[ Vol. 23 , Issue. 6 ]


Phillip M. Arnston and William N. Setzer*   Pages 477 - 503 ( 27 )


Background: The parasitic protozoal infections leishmaniasis, human African trypanosomiasis, and Chagas disease are neglected tropical diseases that pose serious health risks for much of the world’s population. Current treatment options suffer from limitations, but plantderived natural products may provide economically advantageous therapeutic alternatives. Several germacranolide sesquiterpenoids have shown promising antiparasitic activities, but the mechanisms of activity have not been clearly established.

Objective: The objective is to use in silico screening of known antiparasitic germacranolides against recognized protozoal protein targets in order to provide insight into the molecular mechanisms of activity of these natural products.

Methods: Conformational analyses of the germacranolides were carried out using density functional theory, followed by molecular docking. A total of 88 Leishmania protein structures, 86 T. brucei protein structures, and 50 T. cruzi protein structures were screened against 27 antiparasitic germacranolides.

Results: The in-silico screening has revealed which of the protein targets of Leishmania spp., Trypanosoma brucei, and Trypanosoma cruzi are preferred by the sesquiterpenoid ligands.


Leishmaniasis, trypanosomiasis, african sleeping sickness, chagas disease, Leishmania, Trypanosoma, conformational analysis, molecular docking.


Department of Chemistry, University of Alabama in Huntsville, Huntsville, AL 35899, Department of Chemistry, University of Alabama in Huntsville, Huntsville, AL 35899

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