How the Structure of Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) Influences Their Binding Potency to the Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated and Thyroid Hormone Receptors - An In Silico Screening Study

Authors: Dominika Kowalska, Anita Sosnowska, Natalia Bulawska, Maciej Stępnik, Harrie Besselink, Peter Behnisch, Tomasz Puzyn

Abstract: In this study, we investigated PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) binding potencies to nuclear hormone receptors (NHRs): peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPARs) α, β, and γ and thyroid hormone receptors (TRs) α and β. We have simulated the docking scores of 43 perfluoroalkyl compounds and based on these data developed QSAR (Quantitative Structure-Activity Relationship) models for predicting the binding probability to five receptors. In the next step, we implemented the developed QSAR models for the screening approach of a large group of compounds (4464) from the NORMAN Database. The in silico analyses indicated that the probability of PFAS binding to the receptors depends on the chain length, the number of fluorine atoms, and the number of branches in the molecule. According to the findings, the considered PFAS group bind to the PPARα, β, and γ only with low or moderate probability, while in the case of TR α and β it is similar except that those chemicals with longer chains show a moderately high probability of binding.