Retinoic acid-related orphan receptor γt (RORγt) has a vital role in the differentiation of T-helper 17 (TH17) cells. Potent and specific RORγt inverse agonists are sought for treating TH17-related diseases such as psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, and type 1 diabetes. Here, the aim was to discover novel RORγt ligands using both standard molecular docking and negative image-based screening. Interestingly, both of these in silico techniques put forward mostly the same compounds for experimental testing. In total, 11 of the 34 molecules purchased for testing were verified as RORγt inverse agonists, thus making the effective hit rate 32%. The pIC50 values for the compounds varied from 4.9 (11 μM) to 6.2 (590 nM). Importantly, the fact that the verified hits represent four different cores highlights the structural diversity of the RORγt inverse agonism and the ability of the applied screening methodologies to facilitate much-desired scaffold hopping for drug design.
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Date of publication: 11 June 2018; ACS Omega
Author information: Sanna Rauhamäki (1); Pekka A. Postila (1); Sakari Lätti (1,2); Sanna Niivivehmas (1,2); Elina Multamäki (1); Klaus R. Liedl (3); & Olli T. Pentikäinen (1,2,3)