Molecular modeling-guided design of phospholipid-based prodrugs

Milica Markovic, Shimon Ben-Shabat, Shahar Keinan, Aaron Aponick, Ellen M. Zimmermann, Arik Dahan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


The lipidic prodrug approach is an emerging field for improving a number of biopharmaceutical and drug delivery aspects. Owing to their structure and nature, phospholipid (PL)-based prodrugs may join endogenous lipid processing pathways, and hence significantly improve the pharmacokinetics and/or bioavailability of the drug. Additional advantages of this approach include drug targeting by enzyme-triggered drug release, blood-brain barrier permeability, lymphatic targeting, overcoming drug resistance, or enabling appropriate formulation. The PL-prodrug design includes various structural modalities-different conjugation strategies and/or the use of linkers between the PL and the drug moiety, which considerably influence the prodrug characteristics and the consequent effects. In this article, we describe how molecular modeling can guide the structural design of PL-based prodrugs. Computational simulations can predict the extent of phospholipase A2 (PLA2)-mediated activation, and facilitate prodrug development. Several computational methods have been used to facilitate the design of the pro-drugs, which will be reviewed here, including molecular docking, the free energy perturbation method, molecular dynamics simulations, and free density functional theory. Altogether, the studies described in this article indicate that computational simulation-guided PL-based prodrug molecular design correlates well with the experimental results, allowing for more mechanistic and less empirical development. In the future, the use of molecular modeling techniques to predict the activity of PL-prodrugs should be used earlier in the development process.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2210
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number9
StatePublished - 1 May 2019


  • Drug delivery
  • In-silico
  • Molecular biopharmaceutics
  • Molecular docking
  • Molecular dynamics
  • Phospholipase A2
  • Phospholipid
  • Prodrugs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


Dive into the research topics of 'Molecular modeling-guided design of phospholipid-based prodrugs'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this