Structures of Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals Correlate with the Activation of 12 Classic Nuclear Receptors

2021-12-03

Endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) can inadvertently interact with 12 classic nuclear receptors (NRs) that disrupt the endocrine system and cause adverse effects. There is no widely accepted understanding about what structural features make thousands of EDCs able to activate different NRs as well as how these structural features exert their functions and induce different outcomes at the cellular level. This paper applies the hierarchical characteristic fragment methodology and high-throughput screening molecular docking to comprehensively explore the structural and functional features of EDCs for the 12 NRs based on more than 7000 chemicals from curated datasets. EDCs share three levels of key fragments. The primary and secondary fragments are associated with the binding of EDCs to four groups of receptors: steroidal nuclear receptors (SNRs, including androgen, estrogen, glucocorticoid, mineralocorticoid, and progesterone), retinoic acid receptors, thyroid hormone receptors, and vitamin D receptors. The tertiary fragments determine the activity type by interacting with two key locations in the ligand-binding domains of NRs (N-H5-H3-C and N-H7-H11-C for SNRs and N-H5-H5′-H2′-H3-C and N-H6′-H11-C for non-SNRs). The resulting compiled structural fragments of EDCs together with elucidated compound NR binding modes provide a framework for understanding the interactions between EDCs and NRs, facilitating faster and more accurate screening of EDCs for multiple NRs in the future.

Authors: Haoyue Tan, Qinchang Chen, Huixiao Hong, Emilio Benfenati, Giuseppina C Gini, Xiaowei Zhang, Hongxia Yu, Wei Shi
; Full Source: Environmental science & technology 2021 Dec 3. doi: 10.1021/acs.est.1c04997.