[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Malarial dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR) is the target of antifolate antimalarial drugs such as pyrimethamine and cycloguanil, the clinical efficacy of which have been compromised by resistance arising through mutations at various sites on the enzyme. Here, we describe the use of cocrystal structures with inhibitors and substrates, along with efficacy and pharmacokinetic profiling for the design, characterization, and preclinical development of a selective, highly efficacious, and orally available antimalarial drug candidate that potently inhibits both wild-type and clinically relevant mutated forms of Plasmodium falciparum (Pf) DHFR. Important structural characteristics of P218 include pyrimidine side-chain flexibility and a carboxylate group that makes charge-mediated hydrogen bonds with conserved Arg122 (PfDHFR-TS amino acid numbering). An analogous interaction of P218 with human DHFR is disfavored because of three species-dependent amino acid substitutions in the vicinity of the conserved Arg. Thus, P218 binds to the active site of PfDHFR in a substantially different fashion from the human enzyme, which is the basis for its high selectivity. Unlike pyrimethamine, P218 binds both wild-type and mutant PfDHFR in a slow-on/slow-off tight-binding mode, which prolongs the target residence time. P218, when bound to PfDHFR-TS, resides almost entirely within the envelope mapped out by the dihydrofolate substrate, which may make it less susceptible to resistance mutations. The high in vivo efficacy in a SCID mouse model of P. falciparum malaria, good oral bioavailability, favorable enzyme selectivity, and good safety characteristics of P218 make it a potential candidate for further development.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 10/2012; 109(42):16823-8. · 9.74 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The syntheses of methylenolactocin, nephrosterinic acid and their derivatives can be achieved by using the efficient diastereoselective acylation of dimethyl itaconate–anthracene adduct followed by tandem chemoselective reduction–lactonization.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Comparative molecular field analysis (CoMFA) was performed on twenty-three pyrimethamine (pyr) derivatives active against quadruple mutant type (Asn51Ile, Cys59Arg, Ser108Asn, Ile164Leu) dihydrofolate reductase of Plasmodium falcipaarum (PfDHFR). The represented CoMFA models were evaluated based on the various three different probe atoms, C(sp3) (+1), O(sp3) (-1) and H (+1), resulting in the best model with combined three types of probe atoms. The statistical results were r(2)(cv) = 0.702, S(press) = 0.608, r(2)(nv) = 0.980, s = 0.156, and r(2)(test-set) = 0.698 which can explain steric contribution of about 50%. In addition, an understanding of particular interaction energy between inhibitor and surrounding residues in the binding pocket was performed by using MP2/6-31G(d,p) quantum chemical calculations. The obtained results clearly demonstrate that Asn108 is the cause of pyr resistance with the highest repulsive interaction energy. Therefore, CoMFA and particular interaction energy analyses can be useful for identifying the structural features of potent pyr derivatives active against quadruple mutant type PfDHFR.
Journal of Enzyme Inhibition and Medicinal Chemistry 07/2008; 24(2):471-9. · 1.50 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Pyrimethamine analogs were examined as potential agents against vivax malaria using a bacterial surrogate system carrying Plasmodium vivax dihydrofolate reductase-thymidylate synthase (PvDHFR-TS), in which the PvDHFR complemented chemically knocked out host dihydrofolate reductase. The system was initially tested with P. falciparum dihydrofolate reductase-thymidylate synthase and was found to have good correlation with the parasite-based system. The 50% inhibitory concentrations derived from PvDHFR-TS-dependent bacteria were correlated with their corresponding inhibition constants (Ki) from an enzyme inhibition assay, pointing to the likelihood that the potent enzyme inhibitors will also have potent antimalarial activities. Active compounds against both wild-type and S58R S117N (SP21) double-mutant P. vivax include analogs with structures which can avert a steric clash with the asparagine (S117N) side chain of the mutant, similar to those found for homologous Plasmodium falciparum mutants, raising the possibility that the same compounds can be developed against both types of antifolate-resistant malaria. This rapid and convenient drug screening system should be useful for development of new antifolates against P. vivax, for which a continuous culture system is not yet available.
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy 12/2006; 50(11):3631-7. · 4.57 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Pyrimethamine (Pyr) targets dihydrofolate reductase of Plasmodium vivax (PvDHFR) as well as other malarial parasites, but its use as antimalarial is hampered by the widespread high resistance. Comparison of the crystal structures of PvDHFR from wild-type and the Pyr-resistant (SP21, Ser-58 --> Arg + Ser-117 --> Asn) strain as complexes with NADPH and Pyr or its analog lacking p-Cl (Pyr20) clearly shows that the steric conflict arising from the side chain of Asn-117 in the mutant enzyme, accompanied by the loss of binding to Ser-120, is mainly responsible for the reduction in binding of Pyr. Pyr20 still effectively inhibits both the wild-type and SP21 proteins, and the x-ray structures of these complexes show how Pyr20 fits into both active sites without steric strain. These structural insights suggest a general approach for developing new generations of antimalarial DHFR inhibitors that, by only occupying substrate space of the active site, would retain binding affinity with the mutant enzymes.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 10/2005; 102(37):13046-51. · 9.74 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Dihydrofolate reductase-thymidylate synthase (DHFR-TS) from Plasmodium falciparum, a validated target for antifolate antimalarials, is a dimeric enzyme with interdomain interactions significantly mediated by the junction region as well as the Plasmodium-specific additional sequences (inserts) in the DHFR domain. The X-ray structures of both the wild-type and mutant enzymes associated with drug resistance, in complex with either a drug which lost, or which still retains, effectiveness for the mutants, reveal features which explain the basis of drug resistance resulting from mutations around the active site. Binding of rigid inhibitors like pyrimethamine and cycloguanil to the enzyme active site is affected by steric conflict with the side-chains of mutated residues 108 and 16, as well as by changes in the main chain configuration. The role of important residues on binding of inhibitors and substrates was further elucidated by site-directed and random mutagenesis studies. Guided by the active site structure and modes of inhibitor binding, new inhibitors with high affinity against both wild-type and mutant enzymes have been designed and synthesized, some of which have very potent anti-malarial activities against drug-resistant P. falciparum bearing the mutant enzymes.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A simple method for screening combinatorial and other libraries of inhibitors of malarial (Plasmodium falciparum) dihydrofolate reductase (PfDHFR) has been developed, based on the affinities of the inhibitors with the enzyme. In the presence of limiting amounts of the enzyme, a number of inhibitors in the library were bound to extents reflecting the relative binding affinities. Following ultrafiltration and guanidine hydrochloride treatment to release bound inhibitors, the amounts of free and bound inhibitors could be determined by high-performance liquid chromatography and liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry. The differences in the patterns reflected the binding of high-affinity components compared with the other members in the library. A good correlation was found between the inhibition constants (Ki values) and the extent of binding of inhibitors to wild-type, double (C59R+S108N) and quadruple mutant (N51I+C59R+S108N+I164L) of PfDHFR, as well as human DHFR. In addition to identifying lead components of the libraries with high affinities (low Ki values) and stabilities (low k(off) rates), this simple method also provides an alternative way for quickly and accurately calculating enzyme binding affinities of inhibitors in combinatorial chemical libraries.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Novel analogues of pyrimethamine (Pyr) and cycloguanil (Cyc) have been synthesized and tested as inhibitors of Plasmodium falciparum dihydrofolate reductase carrying triple (N51I+C59R+S108N, C59R+S108N+I164L) and quadruple (N51I+C59R+S108N+I164L) mutations responsible for antifolate resistance. The inhibitors were designed to avoid steric clash of the p-Cl group of the inhibitors with the side chain of Asn108, augmented by additional mutations of the resistant mutants. Cycloguanil derivatives were also designed to avoid steric clash with the side chain of Val16 in the A16V+S108T mutant. Many compounds have inhibition constants (K(i)) at the low nanomolar level against the mutant enzymes and a number have good antimalarial activities against resistant P. falciparum parasites bearing multiple mutations in the S108N series and A16V+S108T mutant enzymes. These compounds in the Pyr and Cyc series exhibit low and moderate cytotoxicity to nontumor (Vero) and tumor (KB, BC) cell lines. Some of these inhibitors are therefore potential candidates for further development as antimalarials.
Journal of Medicinal Chemistry 02/2004; 47(3):673-80. · 5.61 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The reduced binding of pyrimethamine to Ser108Asn (S108N) mutants of parasite dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR), which forms the basis of resistance of Plasmodium falciparum to pyrimethamine, is largely due to steric constraint imposed by the bulky side chain of N108 on Cl of the 5-p-Cl-phenyl group. This and other S108 mutants with bulky side chains all showed reduced binding to pyrimethamine and cycloguanil. Less effect on binding to some bulky mutants was observed for trimethoprim, with greater flexibility for the 5-substituent. S108N DHFR also binds poorly with other pyrimethamine derivatives with bulky groups in place of the p-Cl, and the binding was generally progressively poorer for the double (C59R+S108N) mutant. Removal of the p-Cl or replacement with m-Cl led to better binding with the mutant DHFRs. Pyrimethamine analogues with unbranched hydrophobic 6-substituents showed generally good binding with the mutant DHFRs. A number of compounds were identified with high affinities for both wild-type and mutant DHFRs, with very low to no affinity to human DHFR. Some of these compounds show good antimalarial activities against pyrimethamine-resistant P. falciparum containing the mutant DHFRs with low cytotoxicity to three mammalian cell lines.
Journal of Medicinal Chemistry 04/2002; 45(6):1244-52. · 5.61 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A simple and effective system has been developed from which a number of Plasmodium falciparum dihydrofolate reductase (pfDHFR) mutants conferring resistance to antifolates were randomly generated and characterized. The system exploited error-prone PCR to generate random mutations in the pfDHFR. Using the synthetic gene encoding for wild-type and quadruple mutant (N51I+C59R+S108N+I164L) pfDHFRs as templates, mutants resistant to pyrimethamine (Pyr), m-Cl analogue of Pyr (SO3) and WR99210 were selected by bacterial complementation system in which the endogenous DHFR activity of bacterial host cells, but not of Plasmodium, is selectively inhibited by trimethoprim (Tmp). Mutants conferring resistance to antimalarial antifolates were selected under the condition that inhibited the growth of the wild-type pfDHFR. All obtained Pyr resistant mutants possessed S108 mutation, in combination with common mutations of N51I, C59R and I164L previously found in the field. New Pyr resistant mutants with novel mutations (K27T, N121D, N144K and V213E) not found in the field were also identified. Exposure of the randomly mutated pfDHFR libraries to WR99210 or SO3 resulted in selection of novel single and multiple mutants including D54N, F58L and a combination of C50R, K181R, T219P and K227E, which exhibited 2- to over 2000-fold increase in resistance against antifolates. Kinetic analysis of these mutants suggested that apart from the active site residues that are crucial for DHFR activity, residues remote from the binding pocket also play essential roles in substrate and inhibitor binding.
Molecular and Biochemical Parasitology 04/2002; 120(1):61-72. · 2.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Nucleophilic additions of lithium keto and ester enolates and mono- and bifunctional Grignard reagents to artemisitene provided C-16-derived artemisinin monomers, dimers, trimers, and tetramers whose antimalarial and cytotoxic activities have been evaluated.
Journal of Medicinal Chemistry 01/2002; 44(26):4688-95. · 5.61 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The antimalarial activity of a number of artemisinin derivatives, both newly synthesized and currently used as drugs, against Plasmodium falciparum in culture shows a correlation with their affinity of binding with ferroprotoporphyrin IX, as measured from the spectral change of the latter. The new C-16-functionalized artemisinin derivatives were obtained through a novel one-pot synthesis of artemisitene (2) from naturally abundant artemisinin (1), followed by Michael addition with nucleophiles. The correlation points to the biological significance of the interaction of these derivatives with ferroprotoporphyrin IX and may provide a basis for primary screening of peroxidic antimalarials of similar structures.
Journal of Medicinal Chemistry 03/1997; 40(5):633-8. · 5.61 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Directed by substituent R1, the α-allyl-γ-butyrolactone 9 either undergoes cyclisation to give the alcoholic cyclopentenone 12 or 1,2-acyl migration to give 13, when subjected to treatment with LDA in THF/TMEDA. An effective strategy to nullify this directive influence, and dictate cyclisation, is exemplified in a model synthesis of spiro[4,5]dec-2-ene-1,6-dione 19 by a one-pot tandem cyclisation — elimination process starting from 16.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Several terpenes, including the novel diterpene peroxide (5) with potent activity against Plasmodium falciparum, have been isolated from Amomum krervanh (“cardamom”).