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JOURNAL ARTICLE

Identification of putative estrogen receptor-mediated endocrine disrupting chemicals using QSAR- and structure-based virtual screening approaches

Liying Zhang, Alexander Sedykh, Ashutosh Tripathi, Hao Zhu, Antreas Afantitis, Varnavas D Mouchlis, Georgia Melagraki, Ivan Rusyn, Alexander Tropsha
Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology 2013 October 1, 272 (1): 67-76
23707773
Identification of endocrine disrupting chemicals is one of the important goals of environmental chemical hazard screening. We report on the development of validated in silico predictors of chemicals likely to cause estrogen receptor (ER)-mediated endocrine disruption to facilitate their prioritization for future screening. A database of relative binding affinity of a large number of ERα and/or ERβ ligands was assembled (546 for ERα and 137 for ERβ). Both single-task learning (STL) and multi-task learning (MTL) continuous quantitative structure-activity relationship (QSAR) models were developed for predicting ligand binding affinity to ERα or ERβ. High predictive accuracy was achieved for ERα binding affinity (MTL R(2)=0.71, STL R(2)=0.73). For ERβ binding affinity, MTL models were significantly more predictive (R(2)=0.53, p<0.05) than STL models. In addition, docking studies were performed on a set of ER agonists/antagonists (67 agonists and 39 antagonists for ERα, 48 agonists and 32 antagonists for ERβ, supplemented by putative decoys/non-binders) using the following ER structures (in complexes with respective ligands) retrieved from the Protein Data Bank: ERα agonist (PDB ID: 1L2I), ERα antagonist (PDB ID: 3DT3), ERβ agonist (PDB ID: 2NV7), and ERβ antagonist (PDB ID: 1L2J). We found that all four ER conformations discriminated their corresponding ligands from presumed non-binders. Finally, both QSAR models and ER structures were employed in parallel to virtually screen several large libraries of environmental chemicals to derive a ligand- and structure-based prioritized list of putative estrogenic compounds to be used for in vitro and in vivo experimental validation.

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