Semaglutide as a Possible Calmodulin Binder: Ligand-Based Computational Analyses and Relevance to Its Associated Reward and Appetitive Behaviour Actions

Giuseppe Floresta, Davide Arillotta, Valeria Catalani, G. Duccio Papanti Pelletier, John Corkery, Amira Guirguis, Fabrizio Schifano

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Abstract

Semaglutide, a glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist, has gained considerable attention as a therapeutic agent for type 2 diabetes mellitus and obesity. Despite its clinical success, the precise mechanisms underlying its pharmacological effects remain incompletely understood. In this study, we employed ligand-based drug design strategies to investigate potential off-target interactions of semaglutide. Through a comprehensive in silico screening of semaglutide’s structural properties against a diverse panel of proteins, we have identified calmodulin (CaM) as a putative novel target of semaglutide. Molecular docking simulations revealed a strong interaction between semaglutide and CaM, characterized by favourable binding energies and a stable binding pose. Further molecular dynamics simulations confirmed the stability of the semaglutide–CaM complex, emphasizing the potential for a physiologically relevant interaction. In conclusion, our ligand-based drug design approach has uncovered calmodulin as a potential novel target of semaglutide. This discovery sheds light on the complex pharmacological profile of semaglutide and offers a promising direction for further research into the development of innovative therapeutic strategies for metabolic disorders. The CaM, and especially so the CaMKII, system is central in the experience of both drug- and natural-related reward. It is here hypothesized that, due to semaglutide binding, the reward pathway-based calmodulin system may be activated, and/or differently regulated. This may result in the positive semaglutide action on appetitive behaviour. Further studies are required to confirm these findings.
Original languageEnglish
Article number17
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalScientia Pharmaceutica
Volume92
Issue number2
Early online date22 Mar 2024
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 22 Mar 2024

Keywords

  • calmoduline
  • semaglutide
  • GLP1
  • addiction
  • appetite behaviour
  • ligand-based computational drug design

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