Polo-like kinase 1, an important enzyme with diverse biological actions in cell mitosis, is a promising target for developing novel anticancer drugs. A combined molecular docking, structure-based pharmacophore modeling and three-dimensional quantitative structure-activity relationship (3D-QSAR) study was performed on a set of 4,5-dihydro-1 H-pyrazolo[4,3- h]quinazoline derivatives as PLK1 inhibitors. The common substructure, molecular docking and pharmacophore-based alignment were used to develop different 3D-QSAR models. The comparative molecular field analysis (CoMFA) and comparative molecule similarity indices analysis (CoMSIA) models gave statistically significant results. These models showed good q 2 and r 2 pred values and revealed a good response to test set validation. All of the structural insights obtained from the 3D-QSAR contour maps are consistent with the available crystal structure of PLK1. The contour maps obtained from the 3D-QSAR models in combination with the structure based pharmacophore model help to better interpret the structure-activity relationship. These satisfactory results may aid the design of novel PLK1 inhibitors. This is the first report on 3D-QSAR study of PLK1 inhibitors.
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