Identification of potent and selective small-molecule inhibitors of caspase-3 through the use of extended tethering and structure-based drug design.
ABSTRACT The design, synthesis, and in vitro activities of a series of potent and selective small-molecule inhibitors of caspase-3 are described. From extended tethering, a salicylic acid fragment was identified as having binding affinity for the S(4) pocket of caspase-3. X-ray crystallography and molecular modeling of the initial tethering hit resulted in the synthesis of 4, which reversibly inhibited caspase-3 with a K(i) = 40 nM. Further optimization led to the identification of a series of potent and selective inhibitors with K(i) values in the 20-50 nM range. One of the most potent compounds in this series, 66b, inhibited caspase-3 with a K(i) = 20 nM and selectivity of 8-500-fold for caspase-3 vs a panel of seven caspases (1, 2, and 4-8). A high-resolution X-ray cocrystal structure of 4 and 66b supports the predicted binding modes of our compounds with caspase-3.
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ABSTRACT: Neurodegenerative diseases affect the lives of millions of patients and their families. Due to the complexity of these diseases and our limited understanding of their pathogenesis, the design of therapeutic agents that can effectively treat these diseases has been challenging. Huntington disease (HD) is one of several neurological disorders with few therapeutic options. HD, like numerous other neurodegenerative diseases, involves extensive neuronal cell loss. One potential strategy to combat HD and other neurodegenerative disorders is to intervene in the execution of neuronal cell death. Inhibiting neuronal cell death pathways may slow the development of neurodegeneration. However, discovering small molecule inhibitors of neuronal cell death remains a significant challenge. Here, we review candidate therapeutic targets controlling cell death mechanisms that have been the focus of research in HD, as well as an emerging strategy that has been applied to developing small molecule inhibitors-fragment-based drug discovery (FBDD). FBDD has been successfully used in both industry and academia to identify selective and potent small molecule inhibitors, with a focus on challenging proteins that are not amenable to traditional high-throughput screening approaches. FBDD has been used to generate potent leads, pre-clinical candidates, and has led to the development of an FDA approved drug. This approach can be valuable for identifying modulators of cell-death-regulating proteins; such compounds may prove to be the key to halting the progression of HD and other neurodegenerative disorders.Progress in Neurobiology 08/2012; · 9.04 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Small molecule inhibitors of apoptosis hold considerable promise for the treatment of a host of diseases, including neurodegeneration, myocardial infarction, and stroke. Many compounds that delay or prevent apoptotic death either reduce the amount of cellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) or are direct inhibitors of caspases. With the goal of using small molecules to identify novel antiapoptotic targets, we have investigated the cytoprotective activity of the natural product dykellic acid. Described herein is the first total synthesis of dykellic acid, the synthesis of several dykellic acid derivatives, and the evaluation of these compounds in assays related to cell death. We have found that dykellic acid protects cells from death as induced by etoposide and rotenone. Further experiments strongly suggest that dykellic acid does not scavenge ROS or directly inhibit caspase enzymes, and analysis of synthetic derivatives establishes key functional groups of the molecule that are essential for its cytoprotective activity.Journal of Medicinal Chemistry 01/2009; 52(1):117-25. · 5.61 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Neurodegenerative disorders are major consequences of excessive apoptosis caused by a proteolytic enzyme known as caspase-3. Therefore, caspase-3 inhibition has become a validated therapeutic approach for neurodegenerative disorders. We performed pharmacophore modeling on some synthetic derivatives of caspase-3 inhibitors (pyrrolo[3,4-c]quinoline-1,3-diones) using PHASE 3.0. This resulted in the common pharmacophore hypothesis AAHRR.6 which might be responsible for the biological activity: two aromatic rings (R) mainly in the quinoline nucleus, one hydrophobic (H) group (CH3), and two acceptor (A) groups (-C=O). After identifying a valid hypothesis, we also developed an atom-based 3D-QSAR model applying the PLS algorithm. The developed model was statistically robust (q (2) = 0.53; pred_r (2) = 0.80). Additionally, we have performed molecular docking studies, cross-validated our results, and gained a deeper insight into its molecular recognition process. Our developed model may serve as a query tool for future virtual screening and drug designing for this particular target.BioMed Research International 01/2013; 2013:306081. · 2.71 Impact Factor