• benzothiazoles;
  • drug design;
  • MAO-B inhibitors;
  • molecular docking;
  • semicarbazones


Monoamine oxidase B (MAO-B) is an important drug target for the treatment of neurological disorders. A series of 6-nitrobenzothiazole-derived semicarbazones were designed, synthesized, and evaluated as inhibitors of the rat brain MAO-B isoenzyme. Most of the compounds were found to be potent inhibitors of MAO-B, with IC50 values in the nanomolar to micromolar range. Molecular docking studies were performed with AutoDock 4.2 to deduce the affinity and binding mode of these inhibitors toward the MAO-B active site. The free energies of binding (ΔG) and inhibition constants (Ki) of the docked compounds were calculated by the Lamarckian genetic algorithm (LGA) of AutoDock 4.2. Good correlations between the calculated and experimental results were obtained. 1-[(4-Chlorophenyl)(phenyl)methylene]-4-(6-nitrobenzothiazol-2-yl)semicarbazide emerged as the lead MAO-B inhibitor, with top ranking in both the experimental MAO-B assay (IC50: 0.004±0.001 μM) and in computational docking studies (Ki: 1.08 μM). Binding mode analysis of potent inhibitors suggests that these compounds are well accommodated by the MAO-B active site through stable hydrophobic and hydrogen bonding interactions. Interestingly, the 6-nitrobenzothiazole moiety is stabilized in the substrate cavity with the aryl or diaryl residues extending up into the entrance cavity of the active site. According to our results, docking experiments could be an interesting approach for predicting the activity and binding interactions of this class of semicarbazones against MAO-B. Thus, a binding site model consisting of three essential pharmacophoric features is proposed, and this can be used for the design of future MAO-B inhibitors.