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ACS Omega




Tuberculosis (TB)-causing bacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) utilizes mycolic acids for building the mycobacterial cell wall, which is critical in providing defense against external factors and resisting antibiotic action. MmpL3 is a secondary resistance nodulation division transporter that facilitates the coupled transport of mycolic acid precursor into the periplasm using the proton motive force, thus making it an attractive drug target for TB infection. In 2019, X-ray crystal structures of MmpL3 from M. smegmatis were solved with a promising inhibitor SQ109, which showed promise against drug-resistant TB in Phase II clinical trials. Still, there is a pressing need to discover more effective MmpL3 inhibitors to counteract rising antibiotic resistance. In this study, structure-based high-throughput virtual screening combined with molecular dynamics (MD) simulations identified potential novel MmpL3 inhibitors. Approximately 17 million compounds from the ZINC15 database were screened against the SQ109 binding site on the MmpL3 protein using drug property filters and glide XP docking scores. From this, the top nine compounds and the MmpL3-SQ109 crystal complex structure each underwent 2 × 200 ns MD simulations to probe the inhibitor binding energetics to MmpL3. Four of the nine compounds exhibited stable binding properties and favorable drug properties, suggesting these four compounds could be potential novel inhibitors of MmpL3 for M. tuberculosis.


Copyright © 2024 The Authors. Published by American Chemical Society. This publication is Open Access under a CC-BY 4.0 license.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.