Comparative in silico analysis of CHIR99021, Azakenpaullone and Tricantin interactions with GSK3β, a key protein in stem cell fates

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Department of Cell and Molecular Biology, Faculty of Life Sciences and Biotechnology, Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran, Iran

2 b Laboratory of Regenerative Medicine and Biomedical Innovation, National Cell Bank, Pasteur Institute of Iran, Tehran, Iran

3 Department of Nanobiotechnology, Pasteur Institute of Iran, Tehran, Iran

4 Laboratory of Regenerative Medicine and Biomedical Innovation, National Cell Bank, Pasteur Institute of Iran, Tehran, Iran

5 St Vincent's Hospital, Sydney, Australia

6 Department of Bioscience, University of Milan, Milan, Italy


Glycogen Synthase Kinase 3β (GSK3β) is a multifunctional serine/threonine-protein kinase that serves as a pivotal regulator of various human pluripotent stem cell (hPSCs) functions, including self-renewal, adhesion, survival, and differentiation in addition to have an effect on motility of sperm. Despite advancement in understanding the critical roles of GSK3β inhibition in various stem cell functions, the exact molecular basis of its inactivation using various small-molecule inhibitors remains poorly understood. Investigating the mechanistic details of the actions of inhibitors targeting GSK3 proteins, such as CHIR99021, Azakenpaullone, and Tricantin, could be extremely beneficial for improving novel defined stem cell culture systems and cancer research. The present study aimed to predict the binding mode of the aforementioned ligands with GSK3β, by molecular docking and metadynamic simulation, and compare the three-dimensional structure of the inactive conformation of GSK3β in the presence of three inhibitors. Also, the pharmacokinetic or ADMET properties of ligands, such as Lipinski's rule of five violations for drug-likeness, QPlog S, QPlog K, and bioactivity scoring, were predicted. The analysis of protein stability revealed that in the absence of inhibitors, the GSK3β has higher flexibility, while in the presence of CHIR and AZA, the rate of flexibility of most protein regions, especially the envelope area, decreased. It was found that though all small molecules are capable of facilitating the inhibition of GSK3β protein, but the flexibility of protein is a bit higher for CHIR than those for other two ligands.


Main Subjects

Articles in Press, Accepted Manuscript
Available Online from 12 April 2024
  • Receive Date: 07 September 2023
  • Revise Date: 08 October 2023
  • Accept Date: 17 October 2023