[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background:
Combined fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) and cyclooxygenase (COX) inhibition is a promising approach for pain-relief. The Flu-AM1 and Ibu-AM5 derivatives of flurbiprofen and ibuprofen retain similar COX-inhibitory properties and are more potent inhibitors of FAAH than the parent compounds. However, little is known as to the nature of their interaction with FAAH, or to the importance of their chirality. This has been explored here.
FAAH inhibitory activity was measured in rat brain homogenates and in lysates expressing either wild-type or FAAHT488A-mutated enzyme. Molecular modelling was undertaken using both docking and molecular dynamics. The (R)- and (S)-enantiomers of Flu-AM1 inhibited rat FAAH with similar potencies (IC50 values of 0.74 and 0.99 μM, respectively), whereas the (S)-enantiomer of Ibu-AM5 (IC50 0.59 μM) was more potent than the (R)-enantiomer (IC50 5.7 μM). Multiple inhibition experiments indicated that both (R)-Flu-AM1 and (S)-Ibu-AM5 inhibited FAAH in a manner mutually exclusive to carprofen. Computational studies indicated that the binding site for the Flu-AM1 and Ibu-AM5 enantiomers was located between the acyl chain binding channel and the membrane access channel, in a site overlapping the carprofen binding site, and showed a binding mode in line with that proposed for carprofen and other non-covalent ligands. The potency of (R)-Flu-AM1 was lower towards lysates expressing FAAH mutated at the proposed carprofen binding area than in lysates expressing wild-type FAAH.
The study provides kinetic and structural evidence that the enantiomers of Flu-AM1 and Ibu-AM5 bind in the substrate channel of FAAH. This information will be useful in aiding the design of novel dual-action FAAH: COX inhibitors.
PLoS ONE 11/2015; 10(11):e0142711. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0142711 · 3.23 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The structural and physicochemical properties of the adamantane nucleus account for its use as a chemical scaffold in multiple drugs. In the last years, we have developed new polycyclic scaffolds as surrogates of the adamantane group with encouraging results in multiple targets. As adamantane is a common structural feature in several 11β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 1 (11β-HSD1) inhibitors, we have explored the ability of the 6,7,8,9,10,11-hexahydro-5H-5,9:7,11-dimethanobenzoannulen-7-yl scaffold to act as a surrogate of the adamantane nucleus in a novel series of 11β-HSD1 inhibitors. Of note, within this family of compounds one derivative is endowed with submicromolar 11β-HSD1 inhibitory activity. Molecular modeling studies support the binding of the compounds to the active site of the enzyme. However, a fine tuning of the hydrophobicity of the size-expanded nucleus may be beneficial for the inhibitory potency.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A unique defense mechanisms by which M. tuberculosis protects itself from nitrosative stress is based on the O2 -dependent NO dioxygenase (NOD) activity of truncated hemoglobin 2/2HbN (Mt2/2HbN). The NOD activity largely depends on the efficiency of ligand migration to the heme cavity through a two-tunnel (long and short) system; recently, it has also been correlated to the presence at the Mt2/2HbN N-terminus of a short pre-A region, not conserved in most 2/2HbNs, whose deletion results in a drastic reduction of NO scavenging. Here we present the 1.53 Å resolution crystal structure of Mt2/2HbN-ΔpreA, lacking the pre-A region. We show that removal of the pre-A region results in long range effects on the protein C-terminus, promoting the assembly of a stable dimer, both in the crystals and in solution. In the Mt2/2HbN-ΔpreA dimer access of heme ligands to the short tunnel is hindered. MD simulations show that the long tunnel branch is the only accessible pathway for O2 -ligand migration to/from the heme, and that the gating residue Phe(62)E15 partly restricts the tunnel diameter. Accordingly, kinetic measurements indicate that the kon value for peroxynitrite isomerization by Mt2/2HbN-ΔpreA -Fe(III) is 4-fold lower relative to the full-length protein, and that NO scavenging by Mt2/2HbN-ΔpreA-Fe(II)-O2 is reduced by 35-fold. Therefore, we speculate that Mt2/2HbN evolved to host the pre-A region as a mechanism to prevent dimerization, thus reinforcing survival of the microorganism against the reactive nitrosative stress in macrophages. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Two domino Diels–Alder adducts were obtained from 3,7-bis(cyclopenta-2,4-dien-1-ylidene)-cis-bicyclo[3.3.0]octane and dimethyl acetylenedicarboxylate or N-methylmaleimide under microwave irradiation. From the first adduct, a C20H24 diene with C2v symmetry was obtained by Zn/AcOH reduction, hydrolysis, oxidative decarboxylation, and selective hydrogenation. Photochemical [2+2] cycloaddition of this diene gave a thermally unstable cyclobutane derivative, which reverts to the diene. However, both the diene and the cyclobutane derivatives could be identified by X-ray diffraction analysis upon irradiation of the diene crystal. New six-membered rings are formed upon the transannular addition of bromine or iodine to the diene. The N-type selectivity of the addition was examined by theoretical calculations, which revealed the distinct susceptibility of the doubly bonded carbon atoms to the bromine attack.
Chemistry - A European Journal 08/2015; 21(40). DOI:10.1002/chem.201502351 · 5.73 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We have synthesized a series of heptamethylene-linked levetiracetam-huprine and levetiracetam-(6-chloro)tacrine hybrids to hit amyloid, tau and cholinergic pathologies as well as β-amyloid (Aβ)-induced epileptiform activity, some of the mechanisms that eventually lead to cognitive deficits in Alzheimer's disease patients. These hybrids are potent inhibitors of human acetylcholinesterase and butyrylcholinesterase in vitro and moderately potent Aβ42 and tau anti-aggregating agents in a simple E. coli model of amyloid aggregation. Ex vivo determination of the brain acetylcholinesterase inhibitory activity of these compounds after intraperitoneal injection to C57BL6J mice has demonstrated their ability to enter the brain. The levetiracetam‒huprine hybrid 10 significantly reduced the incidence of epileptic seizures, cortical amyloid burden and neuroinflammation in APP/PS1 mice after a four-week treatment with a 5 mg/kg dose. Moreover, the hybrid 10 rescued transgenic mice from cognitive deficits, thereby emerging as an interesting disease-modifying anti-Alzheimer drug candidate.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: An efficient and user-friendly synthetic process involving the combination of multicomponent reaction methodology and microwave heating generates unprecedented (2-imidazolin-4-yl)phosphonates 1–18. This strategy presents a silver-catalysed, operationally simple and environmentally friendly transformation without the need of anhydrous atmosphere or additional solvents.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Nitrophorins represent a unique class of heme proteins that are able to perform the delicate transportation and release of the free-radical gaseous messenger nitric oxide (NO) in a pH-triggered manner. Besides its ability to bind to phospholipid membranes, the N-terminus contains an additional Leu-Pro-Gly stretch, which is a unique sequence trait, and the heme cavity is significantly altered with respect to other nitrophorins. These distinctive features encouraged us to solve the X-ray crystallographic structures of NP7 at low and high pH and bound with different heme ligands (nitric oxide, histamine, imidazole). The overall fold of the lipocalin motif is well preserved in the different X-ray structures and resembles the fold of other nitrophorins. However, a chain-like arrangement in the crystal lattice due to a number of head-to-tail electrostatic stabilizing interactions is found in NP7. Furthermore, the X-ray structures also reveal ligand-dependent changes in the orientation of the heme, as well as in specific interactions between the A-B and G-H loops, which are considered to be relevant for the biological function of nitrophorins. Fast and ultrafast laser triggered ligand rebinding experiments demonstrate the pH-dependent ligand migration within the cavities and the exit route. Finally, the topological distribution of pockets located around the heme as well as from inner cavities present at the rear of the protein provides a distinctive feature in NP7, so that while a loop gated exit mechanism to the solvent has been proposed for most nitrophorins, a more complex mechanism that involves several interconnected gas hosting cavities is proposed for NP7.
F1000 Research 02/2015; 4. DOI:10.12688/f1000research.6060.1
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Using a combination of molecular modeling and spectroscopic experiments, the naturally occurring, pharmacologically active hypericin compound is shown to form a stable complex with the dimeric form of β-lactoglobulin (β-LG). Binding is predicted to occur at the narrowest cleft found at the interface between monomers in the dimeric β-LG. The complex is able to preserve the fluorescence and singlet oxygen photosensitizing properties of the dye. The equilibrium constant for hypericin binding has been determined as Ka = 1.40 ± 0.07 μM−1, equivalent to a dissociation constant, Kd = 0.71 ± 0.03 μM. The complex is active against Staphylococcus aureus bacteria. Overall, the results are encouraging for pursuing the potential application of the complex between hypericin and β-LG as a nanodevice with bactericidal properties for disinfection.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: UbcH10 is a component of the Ubiquitin Conjugation Enzymes (Ubc; E2) involved in the ubiquitination cascade controlling the cell cycle progression, whereby ubiquitin, activated by E1, is transferred through E2 to the target protein with the involvement of E3 enzymes. In this work we propose the first three dimensional model of the tetrameric complex formed by the human UbA1 (E1), two ubiquitin molecules and UbcH10 (E2), leading to the transthiolation reaction. The 3D model was built up by using an experimentally guided incremental docking strategy that combined homology modeling, protein-protein docking and refinement by means of molecular dynamics simulations. The structural features of the in silico model allowed us to identify the regions that mediate the recognition between the interacting proteins, revealing the active role of the ubiquitin crosslinked to E1 in the complex formation. Finally, the role of these regions involved in the E1-E2 binding was validated by designing short peptides that specifically interfere with the binding of UbcH10, thus supporting the reliability of the proposed model and representing valuable scaffolds for the design of peptidomimetic compounds that can bind selectively to Ubcs and inhibit the ubiquitylation process in pathological disorders.
PLoS ONE 11/2014; 9(11):e112082. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0112082 · 3.23 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Predicting the conformational preferences of flexible compounds is a challenging problem in drug design, where the recognition between ligand and receptor is affected by the ability of the interacting partners to adopt a favorable conformation for the binding. In order to explore the conformational space of flexible ligands and to obtain the relative free energy of the conformation wells, we have recently reported a multilevel computational strategy that relies on the predominant-state approximation - where the conformational space is partitioned into distinct conformational wells - and combines a low-level method for sampling the conformational minima and high-level ab initio calculations for estimating their relative stability. In this study, we assess the performance of the multilevel strategy for predicting the conformational preferences of a series of structurally related phenylethylamines and streptomycin in aqueous solution. The charged nature of these compounds and the chemical complexity of streptomycin make them a challenging test for the multilevel approach. Further, we explore the suitability of using a molecular mechanics approach as a source of approximate ensembles in the first stage of the multilevel strategy. The results support the reliability of the multilevel approach for obtaining an accurate conformational ensemble of small (bio)organic molecules in aqueous solution.
The Journal of Physical Chemistry B 10/2014; 119(3). DOI:10.1021/jp506779y · 3.30 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Multitarget compounds are increasingly being pursued for the effective treatment of complex diseases. Herein, we describe the design and synthesis of a novel class of shogaol-huprine hybrids, purported to hit several key targets involved in Alzheimer's disease. The hybrids have been tested in vitro for their inhibitory activity against human acetylcholinesterase and butyrylcholinesterase and antioxidant activity (ABTS(+), DPPH and Folin-Ciocalteu assays), and in intact Escherichia coli cells for their Aβ42 and tau anti-aggregating activity. Also, their brain penetration has been assessed (PAMPA-BBB assay). Even though the hybrids are not as potent AChE inhibitors or antioxidant agents as the parent huprine Y and -shogaol, respectively, they still exhibit very potent anticholinesterase and antioxidant activities and are much more potent Aβ42 and tau anti-aggregating agents than the parent compounds. Overall, the shogaol-huprine hybrids emerge as interesting brain permeable multitarget anti-Alzheimer leads.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Optimization of an essentially inactive 3,4-dihydro-2H-pyrano[3,2-c]quinoline carboxylic ester derivative as acetylcholinesterase (AChE) peripheral anionic site (PAS)-binding motif by double O → NH bioisosteric replacement, combined with molecular hybridization with the AChE catalytic anionic site (CAS) inhibitor 6-chlorotacrine and molecular dynamics-driven optimization of the length of the linker has resulted in the development of the trimethylene-linked 1,2,3,4-tetrahydrobenzo[h][1,6]naphthyridine-6-chlorotacrine hybrid 5a as a picomolar inhibitor of human AChE (hAChE). The tetra-, penta-, and octamethylene-linked homologues 5b-d have been also synthesized for comparison purposes, and found to retain the nanomolar hAChE inhibitory potency of the parent 6-chlorotacrine. Further biological profiling of hybrids 5a-d has shown that they are also potent inhibitors of human butyrylcholinesterase and moderately potent Aβ42 and tau anti-aggregating agents, with IC50 values in the submicromolar and low micromolar range, respectively. Also, in vitro studies using an artificial membrane model have predicted a good brain permeability for hybrids 5a-d, and hence, their ability to reach their targets in the central nervous system. The multitarget profile of the novel hybrids makes them promising leads for developing anti-Alzheimer drug candidates with more balanced biological activities.
European Journal of Medicinal Chemistry 07/2014; 84C:107-117. DOI:10.1016/j.ejmech.2014.07.021 · 3.45 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The α4β2 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) is a molecular target of 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA), a synthetic drug also known as ecstasy, and it modulates the MDMA-mediated reinforcing properties. However, the enantioselective preference of the α4β2 nAChR subtype still remains unknown. Since the two enantiomers exhibit different pharmacological profiles and stereoselective metabolism, the aim of this study is to assess a possible difference in the interaction of the MDMA enantiomers with this nAChR subtype. To this end, we report a novel simple, yet highly efficient enantioselective synthesis of the MDMA enantiomers, in which the key step is the diastereoselective reduction of imides derived from optically pure tert-butylsulfinamide. The enantioselective binding to the receptor is examined using [(3)H]epibatidine in a radioligand assay. Even though the two enantiomers induced a concentration-dependent binding displacement, (S)-MDMA has an inhibition constant 13-fold higher than (R)-MDMA, which shows a Hill's coefficient not significantly different from unity, implying a competitive interaction. Furthermore, when NGF-differentiated PC12 cells were pretreated with the compounds, a significant increase in binding of [(3)H]epibatidine was found for (R)-MDMA, indicating up-regulation of heteromeric nAChR in the cell surface. Finally, docking and molecular dynamics studies have been used to identify the binding mode of the two enantiomers, which provides a structural basis to justify the differences in affinity from the differential interactions played by the substituents at the stereogenic centre of MDMA. The results provide a basis to explore the distinct psychostimulant profiles of the MDMA enantiomers mediated by the α4β2 nAChR subtype.
European Journal of Medicinal Chemistry 06/2014; 81:35-46. DOI:10.1016/j.ejmech.2014.04.044 · 3.45 Impact Factor