A bioinformatic approach to establish P38α MAPK inhibitory mechanism of selected natural products in psoriasis

Agrawal, Anurag ; Awasthi, Rajendra ; T Kulkarni, Giriraj ; Lakshmayya


In the present study, molecular docking studies of some selected natural products were carried out to identify the potential inhibitors and subsequently to suggest their mechanism of action in relation to P38α mitogen-activated protein kinases (P38α MAPK) enzyme. Psoriasis is an inflammatory disorder characterized by skin hyper-proliferation, differentiation in keratin expression, and increased production of pro-inflammatory cytokines. Increased expression of phosphorylated P38α MAPK in the cytoplasm and nucleus is observed in psoriatic lesions. Twelve natural antipsoriatic agents were included in the study and their molecular docking studies were carried out using AutoDock 4.2 simulator using a Lamarckian genetic algorithm. The crystal structure of P38α MAPK was retrieved from the protein data bank and three-dimensional chemical structures of natural ligands were prepared using ChemSketch 2015. Results indicated that all the natural ligands were fitted into the active site. Hypericin and Catechin (−9.00 and −8.05 kcal/mol, respectively) have shown good binding efficacy among other ligands. However, only Epicatechin interacted with residues in the enzyme required for enzyme inhibition. The study concludes that the Epicatechin effectively inhibited the enzyme and proved itself to be a type-I1/2 inhibitor of the enzyme among other natural ligands and responsible for the treatment of psoriasis preclinically through this mechanism of action.


Autoimmune disease; Docking study; Mitogen-activated protein kinase; Molecular interactions; Skin disorder

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