[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) is an Arbovirus that is transmitted to humans primarily by the mosquito species Aedes aegypti. Infection with this pathogen is often associated with fever, rash and arthralgia. Neither a vaccine nor an antiviral drug is available for the prevention or treatment of this disease. Albeit considered a tropical pathogen, adaptation of the virus to the mosquito species Aedes albopictus, which is also very common in temperate zones, has resulted in recent outbreaks in Europe and the US. In the present study, we report on the discovery of a novel series of compounds that inhibit CHIKV replication in the low μM range. In particular, we have initially performed a virtual screening simulation of ∼5 million compounds on the CHIKV nsP2, a viral protease, and then we have investigated the Structure-Activity Relationships of the hit identified in silico. Overall, a series of 26 compounds, including the original hit, was evaluated in a virus-cell-based CPE reduction assay. The study of such selective inhibitors will contribute to a better understanding of the CHIKV replication cycle and represents also a first step towards the development of a clinical candidate drug for the treatment of this disease.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We herein report a novel double pro-drug approach applied to the anti-HCV agent 2'-beta-C-methyl guanosine. A phosphoramidate ProTide motif and a 6-O-methoxy base pro-drug moiety are combined to generate lipophilic prodrugs of the monophosphate of the guanine nucleoside. Modification of the ester and amino acid moieties lead to a compound INX-08189 that exhibits 10nM potency in the HCV genotype 1b subgenomic replicon, thus being 500 times more potent than the parent nucleoside. The potency of the lead compound INX-08189 was shown to be consistent with intracellular 2'-C-methyl guanosine triphosphate levels in primary human hepatocytes. The separated diastereomers of INX-08189 were shown to have similar activity in the replicon assay and were also shown to be similar substrates for enzyme processing. INX-08189 has completed investigational new drug enabling studies and has been progressed into human clinical trials for the treatment of chronic HCV infection.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Computer-aided drug design has seen constantly increasing application over the past two decades in every area of drug discovery. It can offer significant advantages over conventional approaches, being far less expensive and faster than conventional methods, or offering the possibility to predict molecular behaviours that cannot be elucidated in any other way. Recent developments in software and hardware make it possible to simulate increasingly complex molecular environments, widening the applicability of in silico studies from the interactions of small molecules with key protein residues, to the simulation of the dynamic evolution of complex biological systems with atomic resolution. Antiviral research offers several open challenges, from a biological, biochemical and pharmaceutical point of view. Computational approaches are already providing some answers and will undoubtedly give more in the near future. Here, we present a brief overview of the cutting-edge computational methods that play a major role in present and future antiviral research.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The biological importance of microtubules in mitosis and cell division makes them an interesting target for the development of anticancer agents. Small molecules such as benzo[b]furans are attractive as inhibitors of tubulin polymerization. Thus, a new class of inhibitors of tubulin polymerization based on the 2-(3',4',5'-trimethoxybenzoyl)-benzo[b]furan molecular skeleton, with electron-donating (Me, OMe or OH) or electron-withdrawing (F, Cl and Br) substituents on the benzene ring, was synthesized and evaluated for antiproliferative activity, inhibition of tubulin polymerization and cell cycle effects. Adding a methyl group at the C-3 position resulted in increased activity. The most promising compound in this series was 2-(3',4',5'-trimethoxybenzoyl)-3-methyl-6-ethoxy-benzo[b]furan, which inhibits cancer cell growth at nanomolar concentrations and interacts strongly with tubulin by binding to the colchicine site.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Structure-based drug design is a creative process that displays several features that make it closer to human reasoning than to machine automation. However, very often the user intervention is limited to the preparation of the input and analysis of the output of a computer simulation. In some cases, allowing human intervention directly in the process could improve the quality of the results by applying the researcher intuition directly into the simulation. Haptic technology has been previously explored as a useful method to interact with a chemical system. However, the need of expensive hardware and the lack of accessible software have limited the use of this technology to date. Here we are reporting the implementation of a haptic-based molecular mechanics environment aimed for interactive drug design and ligand optimization, using an easily accessible software/hardware combination.
Journal of Molecular Modeling 01/2009; 15(2):193-6. · 1.98 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Chalcones are characterized by possessing an enone moiety between two aromatic rings. A series of chalcone-like agents, in which the double bond of the enone system is embedded within a thiophene ring, were synthesized and evaluated for antiproliferative activity and inhibition of tubulin assembly and colchicine binding to tubulin. The replacement of the double bond with a thiophene maintains antiproliferative activity and therefore must not significantly alter the relative conformation of the two aryl rings. The synthesized compounds were found to inhibit the growth of several cancer cell lines at nanomolar to low micromolar concentrations. In general, all compounds having significant antiproliferative activity inhibited tubulin polymerization with an IC(50)<2microM. Several of these compounds caused K562 cells to arrest in the G2/M phase of the cell cycle.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The 2-(3,4,5-trimethoxybenzoyl)-2-aminoindole nucleus was used as the fundamental structure for the synthesis of compounds modified with respect to positions C-4 to C-7 with different moieties (chloro, methyl, or methoxy). Additional structural variations concerned the indole nitrogen, which was alkylated with small alkyl groups such as methyl or ethyl. We have identified 1-methyl-2-(3,4,5-trimethoxybenzoyl)-3-amino-7-methoxyindole as a new highly potent antiproliferative agent that targets tubulin at the colchicine binding site and leads to apoptotic cell death.
Journal of Medicinal Chemistry 04/2008; 51(5):1464-8. · 5.61 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Carbocyclic nucleoside analogues are catabolically stable since they are resistant to phosphorolytic cleavage by pyrimidine nucleoside phosphorylase enzymes. The carbocyclic analogue (C-BCNA) of the highly potent and selective anti-VZV bicyclic nucleoside analogue (BCNA) 6-pentylphenylfuro[2,3-d]pyrimidine-2'-deoxyribose was synthesized using carbocyclic 2'-deoxyuridine as starting material. C-BCNA was found to be chemically more stable than the furano lead, but it was shown to be significantly less antivirally active than its parent nucleoside analogue. It was noted to have a 10-fold lower inhibitory activity against the VZV-encoded thymidine kinase. This reduction of activity may be attributed to the different conformation of the sugar and base, as predicted by computational studies and supported by NMR studies. However, other factors besides affinity for VZV-TK must account for the greatly reduced antiviral potency.
Journal of Medicinal Chemistry 01/2008; 50(26):6485-92. · 5.61 Impact Factor