In silico screening-based discovery of benzamide derivatives as inhibitors of Rho-associated kinase-1 (ROCK1)
As a pivotal node in modulating various cell behaviors, Rho-associated kinase-1 (ROCK1) has attracted significant attention as a promising therapeutic target in a variety of diseases. Benzamide has been widely reported as a ROCK1 inhibitors in recent years. To better understand its pharmacological properties and to explore its potential inhibitors, a series of ROCK1 inhibitors derived from N-methyl-4-(4-pyrazolidinyl) benzamides (MPBs) were investigated by using three-dimensional quantitative structure-activity relationship (3D-QSAR) models, pharmacophore models, molecular docking, and molecular dynamics (MD) simulation. The comparative Molecular Field Analysis (CoMFA) model (q2 = 0.616, R2 = 0.972, ONC = 4, and r2pred = 0.983) and the best Comparative Molecular Similarity Indices Analysis (CoMSIA) model (q2= 0.740, R2 = 0.982, ONC = 6, and r2pred = 0.824) exhibited reliable predictability with satisfactory validation parameters. In the subsequent virtual screening, VS03 and VS05 were identified to have superior predicted activities and higher docking scores, meanwhile they demonstrated to be reasonably stable in the binding pocket through MD simulations. These results provide a significant theoretical direction for the rational design and development of novel ROCK1 inhibitors.