An association of virtual screening, docking and a good rescoring procedure is a well known technique to discover and design new lead compounds in medicinal chemistry. We have demonstrated that the study on the interactions of unsuspected molecules with estrogen receptors, using the same technique applied in medicinal chemistry could be a valuable choice to discover new hypothetical xenoestrogens. The same approach can be applied to a wide set of chemicals found in food and seed. We propose this approach using as a case study on the zearalenone family to food safety. Zearalenone and its reductive metabolites are a well known set of mycotoxins able to bind estrogen receptors (ERs) thereby interfering with the endogenous estrogenic response. Their endocrine disrupting behavior is tightly related to their capability to competitively bind the ligand binding pocket (LBP) and to stabilize at least one of the functionally active conformational assets of the ligand binding domain (LBD). Although proposing an interacting model alongside for three-dimensional complexes is not yet solved, this kind of computational aided analysis is a potentially intriguing tool to predict the binding event and to evaluate the xenoestrogenic role of any kind of chemicals and derivatives.
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