An iterative parallel synthesis effort identified a PLD2 selective inhibitor, ML298 (PLD1 IC50 >20,000 nM, PLD2 IC50 = 355 nM) and a dual PLD1/2 inhibitor, ML299 (PLD1 IC50 = 6 nM, PLD2 IC50 = 20 nM). SAR studies revealed a small structural change (incorporation of a methyl group) increased PLD1 activity within this classically PLD2-preferring core, and that the effect was enantiospecific. Both probes decreased invasive migration in U87-MG glioblastoma cells.
Phospholipase D; PLD1; PLD2; ML299; ML298; MLPCN probe
Metabotropic glutamate receptor subtype 5 (mGlu5) activators have emerged as a novel approach to the treatment of schizophrenia. Positive allosteric modulators (PAMs) of mGlu5 have generated tremendous excitement and fueled major drug discovery efforts. Although mGlu5 PAMs have robust efficacy in preclinical models of schizophrenia, preliminary reports suggest that these compounds may induce seizure activity. Prototypical mGlu5 PAMs do not activate mGlu5 directly but selectively potentiate activation of mGlu5 by glutamate. This mechanism may be critical to maintaining normal activity-dependence of mGlu5 activation and achieving optimal in vivo effects.
Using specially engineered mGlu5 cell lines incorporating point mutations within the allosteric and orthosteric binding sites, as well as brain slice electrophysiology and in vivo electroencephalography and behavioral pharmacology, we found that some mGlu5 PAMs have intrinsic allosteric agonist activity in the absence of glutamate.
Both in vitro mutagenesis and in vivo pharmacology studies demonstrate that VU0422465 is an agonist PAM that induces epileptiform activity and behavioral convulsions in rodents. In contrast, VU0361747, an mGlu5 PAMs optimized to eliminate allosteric agonist activity, has robust in vivo efficacy and does not induce adverse effects at doses that yield high brain concentrations.
Loss of the absolute dependence of mGlu5 PAMs on glutamate release for their activity can lead to severe adverse effects. The finding that closely related mGlu5 PAMs can differ in their intrinsic agonist activity provides critical new insights that is essential for advancing these molecules through clinical development for treatment of schizophrenia.
Glutamate; allosteric modulators; agonist; schizophrenia; seizure; convulsions; mGlu5
This Letter describes the further optimization of an MLPCN probe molecule (ML137) through the introduction of 5- and 6- membered spirocycles in place of the isatin ketone. Interestingly divergent structure-activity relationships, when compared to earlier M1 PAMs, are presented. These novel spirocycles possess improved efficacy relative to ML137, while also maintaining high selectivity for the human and rat muscarinic M1 receptor subtype.
Muscarinic acetylcholine receptor 1; M1; Spirocyclic; Positive allosteric modulator (PAM); ML137; VU0413162
This Letter describes the continued optimization of an MLPCN probe molecule (ML137) with a focused effort on the replacement/modification of the isatin moiety present in this highly selective M1 PAM. A diverse range of structures were validated as viable replacements for the isatin, many of which engendered sizeable improvements in their ability to enhance the potency and efficacy of acetylcholine when compared to ML137. Muscarinic receptor subtype selectivity for the M1 receptor was also maintained.
Muscarinic acetylcholine receptor 1; M1; Allosteric; Positive allosteric modulator (PAM); ML137; VU0448350
This Letter describes the continued optimization of an MLPCN probe molecule M1 antagonist (ML012) through an iterative parallel synthesis approach. After several rounds of modifications of the parent compound, we arrived at a new azetidine scaffold that displayed improved potency while maintaining a desirable level of selectivity over other muscarinic receptor subtypes. Data for representative molecules 7w (VU0452865) and 12a (VU0455691) are presented.
Muscarinic acetylcholine receptor 1; M1 Antagonist; ML012; VU0455691; VU0452865
Recent preclinical studies demonstrate a role for the prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) subtype 1 (EP1) receptor in mediating, at least in part, the pathophysiology of hypertension and diabetes mellitus. A series of amide and N-acylsulfonamide analogs of a previously described picolinic acid-based human EP1 receptor antagonist (7) were prepared. Each analog had improved selectivity at the mouse EP1 receptor over the mouse thromboxane receptor (TP). A subset of analogs gained affinity for the mouse PGE2 subtype 3 (EP3) receptor, another potential therapeutic target. One analog (17) possessed equal selectivity for EP1 and EP3, displayed a sufficient in vivo residence time in mice, and lacked the potential for acyl glucuronide formation common to compound 7. Treatment of mice with 17 significantly attenuated the vasopressor activity resulting from an acute infusion of EP1 and EP3 receptor agonists. Compound 17 represents a potentially novel therapeutic in the treatment of hypertension and diabetes mellitus.
Prostaglandin E2; EP1; EP3; Antagonist
Herein we report the discovery and SAR of a novel series of non-MPEP site metabotropic glutamate receptor 5 (mGlu5) positive allosteric modulators (PAMs) based on an aryl glycine sulfonamide scaffold. This series represents a rare non-MPEP site mGlu5 PAM chemotype.
metabotropic glutamate receptor 5; mGlu5; positive allosteric modulator (PAM); non-MPEP
The M1 muscarinic acetylcholine receptor is
to play an important role in memory and cognition, making it a potential
target for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and schizophrenia.
Moreover, M1 interacts with BACE1 and regulates its proteosomal
degradation, suggesting selective M1 activation could afford
both palliative cognitive benefit as well as disease modification
in AD. A key challenge in targeting the muscarinic acetylcholine receptors
is achieving mAChR subtype selectivity. Our lab has previously reported
the M1 selective positive allosteric modulator ML169. Herein
we describe our efforts to further optimize this lead compound by
preparing analogue libraries and probing novel scaffolds. We were
able to identify several analogues that possessed submicromolar potency,
with our best example displaying an EC50 of 310 nM. The
new compounds maintained complete selectivity for the M1 receptor over the other subtypes (M2–M5), displayed improved DMPK profiles, and potentiated the carbachol
(CCh)-induced excitation in striatal MSNs. Selected analogues were
able to potentiate CCh-mediated nonamyloidogenic APPsα release,
further strengthening the concept that M1 PAMs may afford
a disease-modifying role in the treatment of AD.
Muscarinic; acetylcholine; positive allosteric
modulator (PAM); ML169; Alzheimer’s disease
(AD); medium spiny neurons (MSNs); MLPCN
Further chemical optimization of the MLSCN/MLPCN probe ML077 (KCC2 IC50 = 537 nM) proved to be challenging as the effort was characterized by steep SAR. However, a multidimensional iterative parallel synthesis approach proved productive. Herein we report the discovery and SAR of an improved novel antagonist (VU0463271) of the neuronal-specific potassium-chloride cotransporter 2 (KCC2), with an IC50 of 61 nM and >100-fold selectivity versus the closely related Na-K-2Cl cotransporter 1 (NKCC1) and no activity in a larger panel of GPCRs, ion channels and transporters.
Potassium-chloride co-transporter 2; KCC2; NKCC1; antagonist
This Letter describes the continued optimization of an MLPCN probe molecule (ML012) through an iterative parallel synthesis approach. After exploring extensive modifications throughout the parent structure, we arrived at a more highly M1-selective antagonist, compound 13l (VU0415248). Muscarinic subtype selectivity across all five human and rat receptors for 13l, along with rat selectivity for the lead compound (ML012), is presented.
Muscarinic acetylcholine receptor 1; M1; Antagonist; ML012; VU0415248
T-Type Ca2+ channel inhibitors hold tremendous
potential for the treatment of pain, epilepsy, sleep disorders, essential
tremor, and other neurological disorders; however, a lack of truly
selective tools has hindered basic research, and selective tools from
the pharmaceutical industry are potentially burdened with intellectual
property (IP) constraints. Thus, an MLPCN high-throughput screen (HTS)
was conducted to identify novel T-type Ca2+ channel inhibitors
free from IP constraints, and freely available through the MLPCN,
for use by the biomedical community to study T-type Ca2+ channels. While the HTS provided numerous hits, these compounds
could not be optimized to the required level of potency to be appropriate
tool compounds. Therefore, a scaffold hopping approach, guided by
SurflexSim, ultimately afforded ML218 (CID 45115620), a selective
T-type Ca2+ (Cav3.1, Cav3.2, Cav3.3) inhibitor (Cav3.2, IC50 = 150 nM
in Ca2+ flux; Cav3.2 IC50 = 310 nM;
and Cav3.3 IC50 = 270 nM, respectively in patch
clamp electrophysiology) with good DMPK properties, acceptable in
vivo rat PK, and excellent brain levels. Electrophysiology studies
in subthalamic nucleus (STN) neurons demonstrated robust effects of
ML218 on the inhibition of T-type calcium current, inhibition of low
threshold spike, and rebound burst activity. Based on the basal ganglia
circuitry in Parkinson’s disease (PD), the effects of ML218
in STN neurons suggest a therapeutic role for T-type Ca2+ channel inhibitors, and ML218 was found to be orally efficacious
in haloperidol-induced catalepsy, a preclinical PD model, with comparable
efficacy to an A2A antagonist, a clinically validated PD
target. ML218 proves to be a powerful new probe to study T-type Ca2+ function in vitro and in vivo, and freely available.
T-Type calcium channel; inhibitor; electrophysiology; Parkinson’s disease
There is an increasing amount of literature data showing the positive effects on preclinical anti-Parkinsonian rodent models with selective positive allosteric modulators of metabotropic glutamate receptor 4 (mGlu4).1 However, most of the data generated utilize compounds that have not been optimized for drug-like properties and, as a consequence, they exhibit poor pharmacokinetic properties and thus do not cross the blood-brain barrier. Herein, we report on a series of N-4-(2,5-dioxopyrrolidin-1-yl)-phenylpicolinamides with improved PK properties with excellent potency and selectivity as well as improved brain exposure in rodents. Finally, ML182 was shown to be orally active in the haloperidol induced catalepsy model, a well-established anti-Parkinsonian model.
metabotropic glutamate receptors; mGlu4; positive allosteric modulators; Parkinson’s disease; haloperidol-induced catalepsy; structure-activity relationship (SAR); oral efficacy; brain penetration
Herein we report the discovery and SAR of a novel series of M1 agonists based on the MLPCN probe, ML071. From this, VU0364572 emerged as a potent, orally bioavailable and CNS penetrant M1 agonist with high selectivity, clean ancillary pharmacology and enantiospecific activity.
Muscarinic acetylcholine receptor 1; mAChR1 (M1); ML071; Allosteric agonist
Herein we report the discovery, synthesis, and evaluation of a series of N-aryl-bicyclo[2.2.1]heptane-2-carboxamides as selective KCNQ2 (Kv7.2) and KCNQ4 (Kv7.4) channel openers. The best compound, 1 (ML213), has an EC50 of 230 nM (KCNQ2) and 510 nM (KCNQ4) and is selective for KCNQ2 and KCNQ4 channels versus a large battery of related potassium channels, as well as affording modest brain levels. This represents the first report of unique selectivity profiles for KCNQ2 and KCNQ4 over the other channels (KCNQ1/3/5) and as such should prove to be a valuable tool compound for understanding these channels in regulating neuronal activity.
KCNQ2; KCNQ4; activator; Kv7; ion channels; ML218; MLPCN probe
Herein we report the discovery, synthesis and evaluation of a series of N-Aryl-bicyclo[2.2.1]heptane-2-carboxamides as selective KCNQ2 (Kv7.2) and KCNQ4 (Kv7.4) channel openers. The best compound, 1 (ML213) has an EC50 of 230 nM (KCNQ2) and 510 nM (KCNQ4) and is selective for KCNQ2 and KCNQ4 channels versus a large battery of related potassium channels, as well as affording modest brain levels. This represents the first report of unique selectivity profile for KCNQ2 and KCNQ4 over the other channels (KCNQ1/3/5) and as such should prove to be a valuable tool compound for understanding these channels in regulating neuronal activity.
The Kir inward rectifying potassium channels have a broad tissue distribution and are implicated in a variety of functional roles. At least seven classes (Kir1 – Kir7) of structurally related inward rectifier potassium channels are known, and there are no selective small molecule tools to study their function. In an effort to develop selective Kir2.1 inhibitors, we performed a high-throughput screen (HTS) of more than 300,000 small molecules within the MLPCN for modulators of Kir2.1 function. Here we report one potent Kir2.1 inhibitor, ML133, which inhibits Kir2.1 with IC50 of 1.8 μM at pH 7.4 and 290 nM at pH 8.5, but exhibits little selectivity against other members of Kir2.x family channels. However, ML133 has no effect on Kir1.1 (IC50 > 300 μM), and displays weak activity for Kir4.1 (76 μM) and Kir7.1 (33 μM), making ML133 the most selective small molecule inhibitor of the Kir family reported to date. Due to the high homology within the Kir family, the channels share a common design of a pore region flanked by two transmembrane domains, identification of site(s) critical for isoform specificity would be an important basis for future development of more specific and potent Kir inhibitors. Using chimeric channels between Kir2.1 and Kir1.1 and site-directed mutagenesis, we have identified D172 and I176 within M2 segment of Kir2.1 as molecular determinants critical for the potency of ML133 mediated inhibition. Double mutation of the corresponding residues of Kir1.1 to those of Kir2.1 (N171D and C175I) transplants ML133 inhibition to Kir1.1. Together, the combination of a potent, Kir2 family selective inhibitor and identification of molecular determinants for the specificity provides both a tool and a model system to enable further mechanistic studies of modulation of Kir2 inward rectifier potassium channels.
Kir2.1; inward rectifying potassium channel; ion channel; mutagenesis; structure-activity-relationship; medicinal chemistry; ion works; patch clamp; high throughput screening; MLPCN
This Letter describes a chemical lead optimization campaign directed at VU0108370, a weak M1 PAM hit with a novel chemical scaffold from a functional HTS screen within the MLPCN. An iterative parallel synthesis approach rapidly established SAR for this series and afforded VU0405652 (ML169), a potent, selective and brain penetrant M1 PAM with an in vitro profile comparable to the prototypical M1 PAM, BQCA, but with an improved brain to plasma ratio.
Some biologically active chemicals are relatively stable in the extracellular environment but, upon entering the cell, undergo biotransformation into reactive intermediates that covalently modify DNA. The diverse chemical reactions involved in the bioactivation of DNA-damaging agents are both fundamentally interesting and of practical importance in medicinal chemistry and toxicology. The work described here examines the bioactivation of α-haloacrolyl-containing molecules. The α-haloacrolyl moiety is found in a variety of cytotoxic natural products including clionastatin B, bromovulone III, discorahabdins A, B, and C, and trichodenone C, in mutagens such as 2-bromoacrolein and 3-chloro-4-(dichloromethyl)-5-hydroxy-2(5H)-furanone (MX), and in the anticancer drug candidates brostallicin and PNU-151807. Using α-bromo-2-cyclopentenone (1) as a model compound, the activation of α-haloacrolyl-containing molecules by biological thiols was explored. The results indicate that both low molecular weight and peptide thiols readily undergo conjugate addition to 1. The resulting products are consistent with a mechanism in which initial addition of thiols to 1 is followed by intramolecular displacement of bromide ion to yield a DNA-alkylating episulfonium ion intermediate. The reaction of thiol-activated 1 with DNA produces labile lesions at deoxyguanosine residues. The sequence specificity and salt-dependence of this process is consistent with involvement of an episulfonium ion intermediate. The alkylated guanine residue resulting from the thiol-triggered reaction of 1 with duplex DNA was characterized using mass spectrometry. The results provide new insight regarding the mechanisms by which thiols can bioactivate small molecules and offer a more complete understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying the biological activity of cytotoxic, mutagenic, and medicinal compounds containing the α-haloacrolyl group.
Phospholipase D (PLD) catalyzes the conversion of phosphatidylcholine to the lipid second messenger phosphatidic acid. Two mammalian isoforms of PLD have been identified, PLD1 and PLD2, which share 53% sequence identity and are subject to different regulatory mechanisms. Inhibition of PLD enzymatic activity leads to increased cancer cell apoptosis, decreased cancer cell invasion and decreased metastasis of cancer cells; therefore, the development of isoform-specific, PLD inhibitors is a novel approach for the treatment of cancer. Previously, we developed potent dual PLD1/PLD2, PLD1-specific (>1,700-fold selective) and moderately PLD2 preferring (>10-fold preferring) inhibitors. Here, we describe a matrix library strategy that afforded the most potent (PLD2 IC50 = 20 nM) and selective (75-fold selective versus PLD1) PLD2 inhibitor to date, N-(2(1-(3-fluorophenyl)-4-oxo-1,3,8-triazaspiro[4.5]decan-8-yl)ethyl)-2-naphthamide (22a), with an acceptable DMPK profile. Thus, these new isoform-selective PLD inhibitors will enable researchers to dissect the signaling roles and therapeutic potential of individual PLD isoforms to an unprecedented degree.
phospholipase D; PLD; cancer; isoform; allosteric
Herein we report a next generation muscarinic receptor 4 (M4) positive allosteric modulator (PAM), ML253 which exhibits nanomolar activity at both the human (EC50 = 56 nM) and rat (EC50 = 176 nM) receptors and excellent efficacy by the left-ward shift of the ACh concentration response curve (Fold Shift, human = 106; rat = 50). In addition, ML253 is selective against the four other muscarinic subtypes, displays excellent CNS exposure and is active in an amphetamine-induced hyperlocomotion assay.
Muscarinic receptor 4; Positive allosteric modulator; Amphetamine induced hyperlocomotion; CNS; PAM
The compound 3-amino-1,2,4-benzotriazine 1,4-dioxide (tirapazamine, TPZ) is a clinically-promising anticancer agent that selectively kills the oxygen-poor (hypoxic) cells found in solid tumors. It has long been known that, under hypoxic conditions, TPZ causes DNA strand damage that is initiated by the abstraction of hydrogen atoms from the deoxyribose phosphate backbone of duplex DNA but exact chemical mechanisms underlying this process remain unclear. Here we describe detailed characterization of sugar-derived products arising from TPZ-mediated strand damage. We find that the action of TPZ on duplex DNA under hypoxic conditions generates 5-methylene-2-furanone (6), oligonucleotide 3′-phosphoglycolates (7), malondialdehyde equivalents (8 or 9), and furfural (10). These results provide evidence that TPZ-mediated strand damage arises via hydrogen atom abstraction from both the most hindered (C1′) and least hindered (C4′ and C5′) positions of the deoxyribose sugars in the double helix. The products observed are identical to those produced by hydroxyl radical. Additional experiments were conducted to better understand the chemical pathways by which TPZ generates the observed DNA-damage products. Consistent with previous work showing that TPZ can substitute for molecular oxygen in DNA damage reactions, it is found that, under anaerobic conditions, reaction of TPZ with a discrete, photogenerated C1′-radical in a DNA 2′-oligodeoxynucleotide cleanly generates the 2-deoxyribonolactone lesion (5) that serves as the precursor to 5-methylene-2-furanone (6). Overall, the results provide insight regarding the chemical structure of the DNA lesions that confront cellular repair, transcription, and replication machinery following exposure to TPZ and offer new information relevant to the chemical mechanisms underlying TPZ-mediated strand cleavage.
We report the optimization of a series of non-MPEP site metabotropic glutamate receptor 5 (mGlu5) positive allosteric modulators (PAMs) based on a simple acyclic ether series. Modifications led to a gain of MPEP site interaction through incorporation of a chiral amide in conjunction with a nicotinamide core. A highly potent PAM, 8v (VU0404251), was shown to be efficacious in a rodent model of psychosis. These studies suggest that potent PAMs within topologically similar chemotypes can be developed to preferentially interact or not interact with the MPEP allosteric binding site.
Metabotropic glutamate receptor 5; mGlu5; Positive allosteric modulator (PAM); Non-MPEP
Herein we describe the discovery and development of a novel class of M4 positive allosteric modulators, culminating in the discovery of ML293. ML293 exhibited modest potency at the human M4 receptor (EC50 = 1.3 µM) and excellent efficacy as noted by the 14.6-fold leftward shift of the agonist concentration-response curve. ML293 was also selective versus the other muscarinic subtypes and displayed excellent in vivo PK properties in rat with low IV clearance (11.6 mL/min/kg) and excellent brain exposure (PO PBL, 10 mg/kg at 1 h, [Brain] = 10.3 µM, B:P = 0.85).
Positive allosteric modulator; M4; ML293; CNS penetration; Muscarinic receptor 4
Herein we report the discovery and SAR of a novel metabotropic glutamate receptor 3 (mGlu3) NAM probe (ML289) with 15-fold selectivity versus mGlu2. The mGlu3 NAM was discovered via a ‘molecular switch’ from a closely related, potent mGlu5 positive allosteric modulator (PAM), VU0092273. This NAM (VU0463597, ML289) displays an IC50 value of 0.66 μM and is inactive against mGlu5. 2012
metabotropic glutamate receptor 3; mGlu3; molecular switch; NAM
This Letter describes the continued optimization of the MLPCN probe molecule ML071. After introducing numerous cyclic constraints and novel substitutions throughout the parent structure, we produced a number of more highly potent agonists of the M1 mACh receptor. While many novel agonists demonstrated a promising ability to increase soluble APPα release, further characterization indicated they may be functioning as bitopic agonists. These results and the implications of a bitopic mode of action are presented.
Muscarinic acetylcholine receptor 1; M1; Allosteric; Agonist; Bitopic; ML071; VU0364572