Comparative modelling and structure based drug repurposing of PAX2 transcription factor for targeting acquired chemoresistance in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma

Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is a pancreatic malignancy suffering from poor prognosis; the worst among all types of cancer. Chemotherapy, which is the standard regime for treatment in most cases, is often rendered useless as drug resistance quickly sets in after prolonged exposure to the drug. The implication of PAX2 transcription factor in regulating several ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporter proteins that are responsible for the acquisition of drug resistance in PDAC makes it a potential target for treatment purposes. In this study, the 3D structure of PAX2 protein was modelled, and the response of key amino acids to perturbation were identified. Subsequently, kappadione, a vitamin K derivative, was found to bind efficiently to PAX2 with a binding energy of -9.819‚ÄČkcal/mol. The efficacy of mechanism and mode of binding was studied by docking the protein with DNA in the presence and absence of the drug. The presence of kappadione disrupted DNA binding with key effector resides, preventing the DNA from coming into contact with the binding region essential for protein translation. By occupying the DNA binding region and replacing it with a ligand, the mechanism by which DNA interacts with PAX2 could be manipulated. Inhibition of PAX2-DNA binding using kappadione and other small molecules can prove to be beneficial for combating chemoresistance in PDAC, as proposed through in silico approaches. DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1080/07391102.2020.1742793