An empirical relationship between the experimental inhibitory activities of triclosan derivatives and its computationally predicted Plasmodium falciparum enoyl-acyl carrier protein (ACP) reductase (PfENR) dock poses was developed to model activities of known antimalarials. A statistical model was developed using 57 triclosan derivatives with significant measures (r = 0.849, q2 = 0.619, s = 0.481) and applied on structurally related and structurally diverse external datasets. A substructure-based search on ChEMBL malaria dataset (280 compounds) yielded only two molecules with significant docking energy, whereas eight active antimalarials (EC50 < 100 nM, tested on 3D7 strain) with better predicted activities (pIC50 ~ 7) from Open Access Malaria Box (400 compounds) were prioritized. Further, calculations on the structurally diverse rhodanine molecules (known PfENR inhibitors) distinguished actives (experimental IC50 = 0.035 μM; predicted pIC50 = 6.568) and inactives (experimental IC50 = 50 μM; predicted pIC50 = -4.078), which showed that antimalarials possessing dock poses similar to experimental interaction profiles can be used as leads to test experimentally on enzyme assays.
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