Professor William L. Jorgensen
Department of Chemistry, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06520-8107
Free-energy calculations have had a revolutionary effect on computational chemistry. In conjunction with molecular dynamics and Monte Carlo simulations, they have enabled the calculation of free energy changes for wide-ranging phenomena including fundamental solution thermodynamics, activation barriers for reactions in solution, host-guest binding, and drug lead optimization. An overview of our FEP efforts beginning with the ethane to methanol calculation in 1985 and leading to recent discoveries of extraordinarily potent inhibitors of the main protease of SARS-CoV-2 will be presented.
Figure 1. Rendering from a 1.8-Å crystal structure for a complex with the main protease of SARS-CoV-2
(PDB ID 7L11). Carbon atoms of the ligand are in yellow.
Computer-Aided Discovery of Anti-HIV Agents. Jorgensen, W. L. Bioorg. Med. Chem. 2016, 24, 4768-4788.
Robust FEP Protocols for Creating Molecules in Solution. Cabeza de Vaca, I.; Zarzuela, R.; Tirado-Rives, J.; Jorgensen, W. L. J. Chem. Theory Comput. 2019, 15, 2734-2742.
Absolute Free Energy of Binding Calculations for Macrophage Migration Inhibitory Factor in Complex with a Drug-like Inhibitor. Qian, Y.; Cabeza de Vaca, I.; Vilseck, J. Z.; Cole, D. J.; Tirado-Rives, J.; Jorgensen, W. L. J. Phys. Chem. B 2019, 123, 8675-8685.
Identification of 14 Known Drugs as Inhibitors of the Main Protease of SARS-CoV-2. Ghahremanpour, M.; Tirado-Rives, J.; Deshmukh, M.; Ippolito, J. A.; Zhang, C.-H.;Cabeza de Vaca, I.; Liosi, M.-E.; Anderson, K. S.; Jorgensen, W. L. ACS Med. Chem. Lett. 2020, 11, 2626-2533.
Potent non-covalent inhibitors of the main protease of SARS-CoV-2 from molecular sculpting of the drug parampanel guided by free-energy perturbation calculations. Zhang, C.-H.; Stone, E. A.; Deshmukh, M.; Ippolito, J. A.; … Anderson, K. S.; Jorgensen, W. L. ACS Central Sci. 2021, 00, 0000-0000.
Thank you once again, Prof. Jorgensen, for the absolutely brilliant lecture. I wonder if this is the appropriate place to leave some rather naive questions?
I was just wondering about the 200 compounds you scanned first - the set of oral drugs if I'm not too wrong. Were these all anti-virals?
And you also mentioned at the beginning your concerns that the drugs that are being synthesized may have activity only against the wild-type virus - is that what made you choose that particular step to block the replication cycle of the virus? And a final, remote, thought - have you been interested in exploring 'broad-spectrum 'anti-virals' in your research group?