This mini review covers the drug discovery aspect of both proteasome activators and inhibitors. The proteasome is involved in many essential cellular functions, such as regulation of cell cycle, cell differentiation, signal transduction pathways, antigen processing for appropriate immune responses, stress signaling, inflammatory responses, and apoptosis. Due to the importance of the proteasome in cellular functions, inhibition or activation of the proteasome could become a useful therapeutic strategy for a variety of diseases. Many proteasome inhibitors have been identified and can be classified into two groups according to their source: chemically synthesized small molecules and compounds derived from natural products. A successful case of developing a proteasome inhibitor as a clinically useful drug is that the peptide boronate, PS341 (Bortezomib), was approved for the treatment of multiple myeloma. In contrast to proteasome inhibitors, small molecules that can activate or enhance proteasome activity are rare and are not well studied. The fact that over-expression of the cellular proteasome activator PA28 exhibited beneficial effects on the Huntington’s disease neuronal model cells raised the prospect that small molecule proteasome activators could become useful therapeutics. The beneficial effect of oleuropein, a small molecule proteasome activator, on senescence of human fibroblasts also suggested that proteasome activators might have the potential to be developed into anti-aging agents.
Proteasome; activator; inhibitor; natural products; betulinic acids; peptides; anti-cancer; bortezomib
HIV-1 envelope glycoproteins are the key viral proteins that mediate HIV-1 entry and cell–cell fusion. In contrast to HIV-1 entry, the mechanism of HIV-1 Env-mediated cell–cell fusion is relatively unclear. This study demonstrated that dynasore, a dynamin inhibitor, suppressed HIV-1 Env-mediated cell–cell fusion. Dynasore sensitivity of HIV-1 Env-mediated cell–cell fusion varied depending on the viral strains. Results from testing a panel of gp41 cytoplasmic tail truncation mutants suggested that the gp41 cytoplasmic tail might play a role in dynasore sensitivity. HIV-1 Env-mediated cell–cell fusion could also be suppressed by a dynamin dominant-negative mutant DNM2(K44A). In summary, these results suggested that dynamin 2 might play a role in HIV-1 Env-mediated cell–cell fusion.
A new class of proteasome inhibitors was synthesized using lithocholic acid as a scaffold. Modification at the C-3 position of lithocholic acid with a series of acid acyl groups yielded compounds with a range of potency on proteasome inhibition. Among them, the phenylene diacetic acid hemiester derivative (13) displayed the most potent proteasome inhibition with IC50 = 1.9 μM. Enzyme kinetic analysis indicates that these lithocholic acid derivatives are non-competitive inhibitors of the proteasome.
Lithocholic acid; proteasome; proteasome inhibitor
This study discovered that glycyrrhetinic acid inhibited the human 20S proteasome at 22.3 µM. Esterification of the C-3 hydroxyl group on glycyrrhetinic acid with various carboxylic acid reagents yielded a series of analogs with marked improved potency. Among the derivatives, glycyrrhetinic acid 3-O-isophthalate (17) was the most potent compound with IC50 of 0.22 µM, which was approximately 100-fold more potent than glycyrrhetinic acid.
Glycyrrhetinic acid; proteasome inhibitor; triterpene
This study discovered that betulinic acid (BA) is a potent proteasome activator that preferentially activates the chymotrypsin-like activity of proteasomes. Chemical modifications can transform BA into proteasome inhibitors. Chemical modifications at the C-3 position of BA resulted in compounds, such as dimethylsuccinyl BA (DSB), with various inhibitory activities against human 20S proteasomes. Interestingly, the proteasomal activation by BA and the inhibitory activity of DSB could be abrogated by introducing a side chain at the C-28 position. In summary, this study discovered a class of small molecules that can either activate or inhibit human proteasome activity depending on side chain modifications.
Betulinic acid; proteasome inhibitor; proteasome activator
of diterpenoid derivatives based on podocarpic acid were
synthesized and evaluated as anti-influenza A virus agents. Several
of the novel podocarpic acid derivatives exhibited nanomolar activities
against an H1N1 influenza A virus (A/Puerto Rico/8/34) that was resistant
to two anti-influenza drugs, oseltamivir and amantadine. This class
of compounds inhibits the influenza virus by targeting the viral hemagglutinin-mediated
membrane fusion. These results indicated that podocarpic acid derivatives
may serve as potential drug candidates to fight drug-resistant influenza
A virus infections.
Influenza A; influenza inhibitor; podocarpic
acid; totarol; hemagglutinin
Based on a 3D-QSAR pharmacophore derived from a diverse set of known cyclin-dependent kinase 9 (CDK9) inhibitors and a composite pharmacophore extracted from the complex structure of flavopiridol (FVP)-CDK9, thirty novel 5-fluoro-N2,N4-diphenylpyrimidine-2,4-diamine derivatives were designed and synthesized. Initial tests against four tumor cell lines with the sulforhodamine B (SRB) assay identified a series of potent compounds with GI50 values at lower micromolar or submicromolar level. Most of the highly cytotoxic compounds exhibited potent inhibitory activities against both CDK2/cyclin E1 and CDK9/cyclin T1. Notably, inhibitions against the two enzymes were generally correlated well with the cytotoxicity of these compounds. Appreciable inhibition was also observed for selected compounds in the anti-HIV-1 assay. Docking studies on compounds 6d and 9g provided conducive clues to further structural optimization.
5-fluoro-N2; N4-diphenylpyrimidine-2, 4-diamines; cyclin-dependent kinases; pharmacophore; cytotoxicity; anti-HIV-1
HIV-1 latency-reversing agents, such as histone deacetylase inhibitors (HDACIs), were ineffective in reducing latent HIV-1 reservoirs ex vivo using CD4 cells from patients as a model. This deficiency poses a challenge to current pharmacological approaches for HIV-1 eradication. The results of this study indicated that gnidimacrin (GM) was able to markedly reduce the latent HIV-1 DNA level and the frequency of latently infected cells in an ex vivo model using patients peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC). GM induced approximately 10-fold more HIV-1 production than the HDACI SAHA or romidepsin, which may be responsible for the effectiveness of GM in reducing latent HIV-1 levels. GM achieved these effects at low picomolar concentrations by selective activation of protein kinase C βI and βII. Notably, GM was able to reduce the frequency of HIV-1 latently infected cells at concentrations without global T cell activation or stimulating inflammatory cytokine production. GM merits further development as a clinical trial candidate for latent HIV-1 eradication.
Gnidimacrin; PKC agonist; HIV-1 latency; HIV-1 latency reversing agent
Porphyromonas gingivalis is a keystone pathogen of periodontitis. One of its bacterial characteristics is the ability to invade various host cells, including nonphagocytic epithelial cells and fibroblasts, which is known to facilitate P. gingivalis adaptation and survival in the gingival environment. In this study, we investigated two small compounds, Alop1 and dynasore, for their role in inhibition of P. gingivalis invasion. Using confocal microscopy, we showed that these two compounds significantly reduced invasion of P. gingivalis and its outer membrane vesicles into human oral keratinocytes in a dose-dependent manner. The inhibitory effects of dynasore, a dynamin inhibitor, on the bacterial entry is consistent with the notion that P. gingivalis invasion is mediated by a clathrin-mediated endocytic machinery. We also observed that microtubule arrangement, but not actin, was altered in the host cells treated with Alop1 or dynasore, suggesting an involvement of microtubule in this inhibitory activity. This work provides an opportunity to develop compounds against P. gingivalis infection.
Influenza A virus infection causes
a contagious respiratory illness
that poses a threat to human health. However, there are limited anti-influenza
A therapeutics available, which is further compounded by the emergence
of drug resistant viruses. In this study, Sophora quinolizidine alkaloids
were identified as a new class of anti-influenza A virus agents. Among
the tested Sophora alkaloids, dihydroaloperine exhibited the most
potent activity with an EC50 of 11.2 μM. The potency
of the quinolizidine alkaloids was improved by approximately 5-fold
with chemical modifications on the aloperine molecule. These compounds
were effective against an H1N1 influenza A virus that was resistant
to the two antiflu drugs oseltamivir and amantadine. The identification
of the quinolizidine alkaloids as effective and novel anti-influenza
A agents may aid in the development of new therapeutics.
Influenza; influenza inhibitor; nucleoprotein
Nineteen new halogenated diarylpyridinamine (DAPA) analogues (6a-n and 8a-e) modified on the phenoxy C-ring were synthesized and evaluated for anti-HIV activity and certain drug-like properties. Ten compounds showed high anti-HIV activity (EC50 < 10 nM). Particularly, (E)-6-(2”-bromo-4”-cyanovinyl-6“-methoxy)phenoxy-N2-(4′-cyanophenyl)pyridin-2,3-diamine (8c) displayed low nanomolar antiviral potency (3–7 nM) against wild-type and resistant viral strains with E138K or K101E mutation, associated with resistance to rilvipirine (1b). Compound 8c exhibited much lower resistance fold changes (RFC 1.1–2.1) than 1b (RFC 11.8–13.0). Compound 8c also exhibited better metabolic stability (in vitro half-life) than 1b in human liver microsomes (HLM), possessed low lipophilicity (clog D: 3.29; measured log P: 3.31), and had desirable lipophilic efficiency indices (LE > 0.3, LLE >5, LELP <10). With balanced potency and drug-like properties, 8c merits further development as an anti-HIV drug candidate.
anti-HIV activity; antiviral agents; diarylpyridinamine; drug-like properties; lipophiliicity
Porphyromonas gingivalis is a keystone pathogen of periodontitis. Outer membrane vesicles (OMVs) have been considered as both offense and defense components of this bacterium. Previous studies indicated that like their originating cells, P. gingivalis vesicles, are able to invade oral epithelial cells and gingival fibroblasts, in order to promote aggregation of some specific oral bacteria and to induce host immune responses. In the present study, we investigated the invasive efficiency of P. gingivalis OMVs and compared results with that of the originating cells. Results revealed that 70–90% of human primary oral epithelial cells, gingival fibroblasts, and human umbilical vein endothelial cells carried vesicles from P. gingivalis 33277 after being exposed to the vesicles for 1 h, while 20–50% of the host cells had internalized P. gingivalis cells. We also detected vesicle-associated DNA and RNA and a vesicle-mediated horizontal gene transfer in P. gingivalis strains, which represents a novel mechanism for gene transfer between P. gingivalis strains. Moreover, purified vesicles of P. gingivalis appear to have a negative impact on biofilm formation and the maintenance of Streptococcus gordonii. Our results suggest that vesicles are likely the best offence weapon of P. gingivalis for bacterial survival in the oral cavity and for induction of periodontitis.
Porphyromonas gingivalis is a keystone periopathogen that plays an essential role in the progress of periodontitis. Like other gram-negative bacteria, the ability of P. gingivalis to produce outer membrane vesicles is a strategy used to interact with, and survive within its biological niches. Here we compared the protein components associated with vesicles derived from a fimbriated strain (33277) and an afimbriated strain (W83) of P. gingivalis using proteomic analyses. Some well-known virulence factors were identified in vesicles from both strains, such as gingipains and hemagglutinin. In contrast, FimC, FimD, and FimE, minor components of long fimbriae were found exclusively in 33277 vesicles, while proteins with a tetratricopeptide repeat (TPR) domain were unique to W83 vesicles. We found that significantly more 33277 than W83 vesicles were internalized into human oral keratinocytes and gingival fibroblasts. Interestingly, FimA, a well-known adhesin responsible for the attachment and invasion of P. gingivalis into host cells, was not essential for the invasive capabilities of P. gingivalis vesicles. Rather minor components of long fimbriae were required for an efficient invasive activity of vesicles. The most striking finding was that P. gingivalis strains lacking or having a reduced FimA expression showed a significant reduction in vesiculation. These results suggest that production and pathogenicity of P. gingivalis vesicles may largely depend on expression of the fim locus, and that the integration of vesicle production and pathogenicity with fimbrial expression may allow P. gingivalis to confer upon itself certain functional advantages.
Invasion; outer membrane vesicles; P. gingivalis
The 26S proteasome is a cellular proteolytic complex containing 19S regulatory particles and the 20S core proteasome. It was reported that the small molecule b-AP15 targets the proteasome by inhibiting deubiquitination of the 19S regulatory particles of the proteasome complex. An investigation of b-AP15 on the 20S proteasome core suggested that this compound can also inhibit the 20S proteasome with a potency equivalent to that found to inhibit the 19S regulatory particles.
proteasome inhibitor; b-AP15; 19S regulatory particles
Five novel tigliane-type diterpenes, stelleracins A–E (3–7), a novel flavanone dimer, chamaeflavone A (8), and six known compounds were isolated from roots of Stellera chamaejasme. Their structures were elucidated by extensive spectroscopic analyses. The isolated compounds were evaluated for anti-HIV activity in MT4 cells. New compounds 3–5 showed potent anti-HIV activity (EC90 0.00056–0.0068 μM) and relatively low or no cytotoxicity (IC50 4.4–17.2 μM). These new compounds represent promising new leads for development into anti-AIDS clinical trial candidates.
Bevirimat (1, BVM) is an anti-HIV agent that blocks HIV-1 replication by interfering with HIV-1 Gag-SP1 processing at a late stage of viral maturation. However, clinical trials of 1 have revealed a high baseline drug resistance that is attributed to naturally-occurring polymorphisms in HIV-1 Gag. To overcome the drug resistance, 28 new derivatives of 1 were synthesized and tested against compound 1-resistant (BVM-R) HIV-1 variants. Among them, compound 6 exhibited much improved activity against several HIV-1 strains carrying BVM-R polymorphisms. Compound 6 was at least 20-fold more potent than 1 against the replication of NL4-3/V370A, which carries the most prevalent clinical BVM-R polymorphism in HIV-1 Gag-SP1. Thus, compound 6 merits further development as a potential anti-AIDS clinical trial candidate.
Betulinic acid; Bevirimat; HIV-1; Maturation inhibitors; Bevirimat-resistance
Accumulation of aberrant protein aggregates, such as
peptide (Aβ), due to decreased proteasome activities, might
contribute to the neurodegeneration in Alzheimer's disease. In this
study, lithocholic acid derivatives 3α-O-pimeloyl-lithocholic
acid methyl ester (2) and its isosteric isomer (6) were found to activate the chymotrypsin-like activity of
the proteasome at an EC50 of 7.8 and 4.3 μM, respectively.
Replacing the C24 methyl ester in 2 with methylamide
resulted in a complete devoid of proteasome activating activity. Epimerizing
the C3 substituent from an α to β orientation transformed
the activator into a proteasome inhibitor. Unlike the cellular proteasome
activator PA28, proteasome activated by 2 was not inhibited
by Aβ. Furthermore, 2 potently antagonized the
inhibitory effect of Aβ on the proteasome. In summary, compound 2 represents a novel class of small molecules that not only
activates the proteasome but also antagonizes the inhibitory effect
of Aβ on the proteasome.
proteasome activator; lithocholic acid; Alzheimer's
disease; amyloid β
In a continuing study of bevirimat (2), the anti-HIV-maturation clinical trials agent, 28 new betulinic acid (BA, 1) derivatives were designed and synthesized. Among these compounds, 17, with a C-28 MEM ester moiety, and 22, with a C-28 ethyl hexanoate, increased the anti-HIV replication activity compared with 2 by two-fold, while compounds 40–41 and 48–49, with C-28 piperazine or piperidine amide substitutions, increased the activity by three- to fifteen-fold. The best new compound 41 exhibited an anti-HIV IC50 value of 0.0059 μM, compared with 0.087 μM for 2. All of the active compounds showed only anti-maturation effects, as confirmed by TZM-bl assay, in blocking the HIV replication. The results suggest that proper C-28 substitutions can further enhance the anti-maturation activity of 2, without any anti-entry effects. Thus, 41 may serve as a promising new lead for development of anti-AIDS clinical trial candidates.
Twenty-one new 4-substituted diarylaniline compounds (DAANs) (Scheme 2, series 13, 14, and 15) were designed, synthesized, and evaluated against wild-type and drug resistant HIV-1 viral strains. As a result, approximately a dozen new DAANs showed high potency with low nano- to sub-nanomolar EC50 values ranging from 0.2 to 10 nM. The three most promising compounds 14e, 14h, and 15h exhibited high potency against wild-type and drug-resistant viral strains with EC50 values at the sub-nanomolar level (0.29–0.87 nM), and were comparable to or more potent than the new NNRTI drug riplivirine (2) in the same assays. Drug-like physicochemical property assessments revealed that the most active DAANs (EC50 <10 nM) have better aqueous solubility (>1–90 μg/mL at pH 7.4 and pH 2) and metabolic stability in vitro than 2, as well as desirable log P values (<5) and polar surface area (PSA) (<140 Å2). These promising results warrant further development of this novel compound class as potential potent anti-AIDS clinical trial candidates.
Betulinic acid derivatives modified at the C28 position are HIV-1entry inhibitors such as compound A43D; however, modified at the C3 position instead of C28 give HIV-1 maturation inhibitor such as bevirimat. Bevirimat exhibited promising pharmacokinetic profiles in clinical trials, but its effectiveness was compromised by the high baseline drug resistance of HIV-1 variants with polymorphism in the putative drug binding site. In an effort to determine whether the viruses with bevirimat resistant polymorphism also altered their sensitivities to the betulinic acid derivatives that inhibit HIV-1 entry, a series of new betulinic acid entry inhibitors were synthesized and tested for their activities against HIV-1 NL4-3 and NL4-3 variants resistant to bevirimat. The results show that the bevirimat resistant viruses were approximately 5- to10-fold more sensitive to three new glutamine ester derivatives (13, 15 and 38) and A43D in an HIV-1 multi-cycle replication assay. In contrast, the wild type NL4-3 and the bevirimat resistant variants were equally sensitive to the HIV-1 RT inhibitor AZT. In addition, these three new compounds markedly improved microsomal stability compared to A43D.
HIV-1; Entry inhibitor; Maturation inhibitor; Betulinic acid; Berivimat; Berivimat-resistance
Accumulation of aberrant protein aggregates, such as amyloid beta peptide (Aβ), due to decreased proteasome activities might contribute to the neurodegeneration in Alzheimer's disease. In this study, lithocholic acid derivatives 3α-O-pimeloyl-lithocholic acid methyl ester (2) and its isosteric isomer (6) were found to activate the chymotrypsin-like activity of the proteasome at an EC50 of 7.8 and 4.3 μM, respectively. Replacing the C24 methyl ester in 2 with methylamide resulted in a complete devoid of proteasome activating activity. Epimerizing the C3 substituent from an alpha to beta orientation transformed the activator into a proteasome inhibitor. Unlike the cellular proteasome activator PA28, proteasome activated by 2 was not inhibited by Aβ. Furthermore, 2 potently antagonized the inhibitory effect of Aβ on the proteasome. In summary, compound 2 represents a novel class of small molecules that not only activates the proteasome but also antagonizes the inhibitory effect of Aβ on the proteasome.
proteasome activator; lithocholic acid; Alzheimer's disease; amyloid beta
The question of how HIV-1 interfaces with cellular microRNA (miRNA) biogenesis and effector mechanisms has been highly controversial. Here, we first used deep sequencing of small RNAs present in two different infected cell lines (TZM-bl and C8166) and two types of primary human cells (CD4+ peripheral blood mononuclear cells [PBMCs] and macrophages) to unequivocally demonstrate that HIV-1 does not encode any viral miRNAs. Perhaps surprisingly, we also observed that infection of T cells by HIV-1 has only a modest effect on the expression of cellular miRNAs at early times after infection. Comprehensive analysis of miRNA binding to the HIV-1 genome using the photoactivatable ribonucleoside-induced cross-linking and immunoprecipitation (PAR-CLIP) technique revealed several binding sites for cellular miRNAs, a subset of which were shown to be capable of mediating miRNA-mediated repression of gene expression. However, the main finding from this analysis is that HIV-1 transcripts are largely refractory to miRNA binding, most probably due to extensive viral RNA secondary structure. Together, these data demonstrate that HIV-1 neither encodes viral miRNAs nor strongly influences cellular miRNA expression, at least early after infection, and imply that HIV-1 transcripts have evolved to avoid inhibition by preexisting cellular miRNAs by adopting extensive RNA secondary structures that occlude most potential miRNA binding sites.
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a ubiquitous class of small regulatory RNAs that serve as posttranscriptional regulators of gene expression. Previous work has suggested that HIV-1 might subvert the function of the cellular miRNA machinery by expressing viral miRNAs or by dramatically altering the level of cellular miRNA expression. Using very sensitive approaches, we now demonstrate that neither of these ideas is in fact correct. Moreover, HIV-1 transcripts appear to largely avoid regulation by cellular miRNAs by adopting an extensive RNA secondary structure that occludes the ability of cellular miRNAs to interact with viral mRNAs. Together, these data suggest that HIV-1, rather than seeking to control miRNA function in infected cells, has instead evolved a mechanism to become largely invisible to cellular miRNA effector mechanisms.
In the present study, a new strategy to link AZT with betulin/betulinic acid (BA) by click chemistry was designed and achieved. This conjugation via a triazole linkage offers a new direction for modification of anti-HIV triterpenes. Click chemistry provides an easy and productive way for linking two molecules, even when one of them is a large natural product. Among the newly synthesized conjugates, compounds 15 and 16 showed potent anti-HIV activity with EC50 values of 0.067 and 0.10 µM, respectively, which are comparable to that of AZT (EC50: 0.10 µM) in the same assay.
Betulin; Betulinic acid; AZT; Anti-HIV; Click chemistry
The current optimization of 2,4-diarylaniline analogs (DAANs) on the central phenyl ring provided a series of new active DAAN derivatives 9a–9e, indicating an accessible modification approach that could improve anti-HIV potency against wild-type and resistant strains, aqueous solubility, and metabolic stability. A new compound 9e not only exhibited extremely high potency against wild-type virus (EC50 0.53 nM) and several resistant viral strains (EC50 0.36 – 3.9 nM), but also showed desirable aqueous solubility and metabolic stability, which were comparable or better than those of the anti-HIV-1 drug TMC278 (2). Thus, new compound 9e might be a potential drug candidate for further development of novel next-generation NNRTIs.
Diarylaniline; NNRTIs; lead optimization; anti-HIV agents
In this study, 1R,2R-dicamphanoyl-3,3-dimethydihydropyrano[2,3-c]xanthen-7(1H)-one (DCX) derivatives were designed and synthesized as novel anti-HIV agents against both wild-type and nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase (RT) inhibitor-resistant HIV-1 (RTMDR-1) strains. Twenty-four DCX analogs (6-29) were synthesized and evaluated against the non-drug-resistant HIV-1 NL4-3 strain, and selected analogs were also screened for their ability to inhibit the RTMDR-1 strain. Compared with the control 2-ethyl-3′,4′-di-O-(-)-camphanoyl-2′,2′-dimethyldihydropyrano[2,3-f]chromone (2-EDCP, 2), one of the best anti-HIV coumarin derivatives in our prior study, three DCX compounds (7, 12, and 22) showed better activity against both HIV strains with an EC50 range of 0.062 – 0.081 μM, and five additional compounds (8, 11, 16, 18, and 21) exhibited comparable anti-HIV potency. Six DCX analogs (7, 11-12, 18, and 21-22) also showed enhanced selectivity index (SI) values in comparison to the control. Structure-activity relationship (SAR) information suggested that the extended conjugated system of the pyranoxanthone skeleton facilitates the interaction of the small DCX molecule within the viral binding pocket, consequently leading to enhanced anti-HIV activity and selectivity. Compared to DCP compounds, DCX analogs are a more promising new class of anti-HIV agents.
1R,2R-dicamphanoyl-3,3-dimethydihydropyrano[2,3-c]xanthen-7(1H)-one (DCX); Anti-HIV activity; Structure-activity relationship (SAR)