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1.  Discovery of 5-substituted pyrrolo[2,3-d]pyrimidine antifolates as dual acting inhibitors of glycinamide ribonucleotide formyltransferase and 5-aminoimidazole-4-carboxamide ribonucleotide formyltransferase in de novo purine nucleotide biosynthesis: implications of inhibiting 5-aminoimidazole-4-carboxamide ribonucleotide formyltransferase to AMPK activation and anti-tumor activity 
Journal of medicinal chemistry  2013;56(24):10016-10032.
We synthesized 5-substituted pyrrolo[2,3-d]pyrimidine antifolates (compounds 5–10) with 1 to 6 bridge carbons and a benozyl ring in the side chain as antitumor agents. Compound 8 with a 4-carbon bridge was the most active analog and potently inhibited proliferation of folate receptor (FR) α-expressing Chinese hamster ovary and KB human tumor cells. Growth inhibition was reversed completely or in part by excess folic acid, indicating that FRα is involved in cellular uptake, and resulted in S-phase accumulation and apoptosis. Anti-proliferative effects of compound 8 toward KB cells were protected by excess adenosine but not thymidine, establishing de novo purine nucleotide biosynthesis as the targeted pathway. However, 5-aminoimidazole-4-carboxamide (AICA) protection was incomplete, suggesting inhibition of both AICA ribonucleotide formyltransferase (AICARFTase) and glycinamide ribonucleotide formyltransferase (GARFTase). Inhibition of GARFTase and AICARFTase by compound 8 was confirmed by cellular metabolic assays and resulted in ATP pool depletion. To our knowledge, this is the first example of an antifolate that acts as a dual inhibitor of GARFTase and AICARFTase as its principal mechanism of action.
PMCID: PMC3917155  PMID: 24256410
2.  Discovery of Potent and Selective Inhibitors of Toxoplasma gondii Thymidylate Synthase for Opportunistic Infections 
ACS Medicinal Chemistry Letters  2013;4(12):1148-1151.
Infection by the parasite Toxoplasma gondii (tg) can lead to toxoplasmosis in immunocompromised patients such as organ transplant, cancer, and HIV/AIDS patients. The bifunctional thymidylate synthase-dihydrofolate reductase (TS-DHFR) enzyme is crucial for nucleotide synthesis in T. gondii and represents a potential target to combat T. gondii infection. While species selectivity with drugs has been attained for DHFR, TS is much more conserved across species, and specificity is significantly more challenging. We discovered novel substituted-9H-pyrimido[4,5-b]indoles 1–3 with single-digit nanomolar Ki for tgTS, two of which, 2 and 3, are 28- and 122-fold selective over human TS (hTS). The synthesis of these compounds, and their structures in complex with tgTS-DHFR are presented along with binding measurements and cell culture data. These results show, for the very first time, that, in spite of the high degree of conservation of active site residues between hTS and the parasite TS, specificity has been accomplished via novel structures and provides a new target (TS) for selective drug development against parasitic infections.
PMCID: PMC3901304  PMID: 24470841
Opportunistic infection; Toxoplasma gondii; crystal structure; thymidylate-synthase inhibitors; active-site inhibitors
3.  Tumor-Targeting with Novel Non-Benzoyl 6-Substituted Straight Chain Pyrrolo[2,3-d]pyrimidine Antifolates via Cellular Uptake by Folate Receptor α and Inhibition of de novo Purine Nucleotide Biosynthesis 
Journal of medicinal chemistry  2013;56(21):10.1021/jm401139z.
A new series of 6-substituted straight side chain pyrrolo[2,3-d]pyrimidines 3a–d with varying chain lengths (n = 5–8) was designed and synthesized as part of our program to provide targeted antitumor agents with folate receptor (FR) cellular uptake specificity and glycinamide ribonucleotide formyltransferase (GARFTase) inhibition. Carboxylic acids 4a–d were converted to the acid chlorides and reacted with diazomethane, followed by 48% HBr to generate the α-bromomethylketones 5a–d. Condensation of 2,4-diamino-6-hydroxypyrimidine 6 with 5a–d afforded the 6-substituted pyrrolo[2,3-d]pyrimidines 7a–d. Hydrolysis and subsequent coupling with diethyl L-glutamate and saponification afforded target compounds 3a–d. Compounds 3b–d showed selective cellular uptake via FRα and -β, associated with high affinity binding and inhibition of de novo purine nucleotide biosynthesis via GARFTase, resulting in potent inhibition against FR-expressing Chinese hamster cells and human KB tumor cells in culture. Our studies establish, for the first time, that a side chain benzoyl group is not essential for tumor-selective drug uptake by FRα.
PMCID: PMC3880613  PMID: 24111942
4.  Discovery of potent and selective inhibitors of Toxoplasma gondii thymidylate synthase for opportunistic infections 
ACS medicinal chemistry letters  2013;4(12):1148-1151.
Infection by the parasite Toxoplasma gondii (tg) can lead to toxoplasmosis in immunocompromised patients such as organ transplant, cancer and HIV/AIDS patients. The bifunctional thymidylate synthase-dihydrofolate reductase (TS-DHFR) enzyme is crucial for nucleotide synthesis in T. gondii, and represents a potential target to combat T. gondii infection. While species selectivity with drugs has been attained for DHFR, TS is much more conserved across species and specificity is significantly more challenging. We discovered novel substituted-9H-pyrimido[4,5-b]indoles 1–3 with single-digit nanomolar Ki for tgTS, two of which, 2 and 3, are 28- and 122-fold selective over human TS (hTS). The synthesis of these compounds, and their structures in complex with tgTS-DHFR are presented along with binding measurements and cell culture data. These results show, for the very first time, that in spite of the high degree of conservation of active site residues between hTS and the parasite TS, specificity has been accomplished via novel structures and provides a new target (TS) for selective drug development against parasitic infections.
PMCID: PMC3901304  PMID: 24470841
Opportunistic infection; Toxoplasma gondii; Crystal structure; Thymidylate-synthase inhibitors; Active-site inhibitors
5.  Substituted Pyrrolo[2,3-d]pyrimidines as Cryptosporidium hominis Thymidylate Synthase Inhibitors 
Bioorganic & medicinal chemistry letters  2013;23(19):10.1016/j.bmcl.2013.07.037.
Cryptosporidiosis, a gastrointestinal disease caused by a protozoan Cryptosporidium hominis is often fatal in immunocompromised individuals. There is little clinical data to show that the existing treatment by nitazoxanide and paromomycin is effective in immunocompromised individuals1, 2. Thymidylate synthase (TS) and dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR) are essential enzymes in the folate biosynthesis pathway and are well established as drug targets in cancer and malaria. A novel series of classical antifolates, 2-amino-4-oxo-5-substituted pyrrolo[2,3-d]pyrimidines have been evaluated as Cryptosporidium hominis thymidylate synthase (ChTS) inhibitors. Crystal structure in complex with the most potent compound, a 2’-chlorophenyl with a sulfur bridge with a Ki of 8.83 ± 0.67 nM is discussed in terms of several Van de Waals, hydrophobic and hydrogen bond interactions with the protein residues and the substrate analog 5-fluorodeoxyuridine monophosphate. Of these interactions, two interactions with the non-conserved residues (A287 and S290) offer an opportunity to develop ChTS specific inhibitors. Compound 6 serves as a lead compound for analog design and its crystal structure provides clues for the design of ChTS specific inhibitors.
PMCID: PMC3853131  PMID: 23927969
Pyrrolo[2,3-d]pyrimidines; Thymidylate synthase; Dihydrofolate reductase; Cryptospridium hominis
6.  Structure activity-relationship and in vitro and in vivo evaluation of the potent cytotoxic anti-microtubule agent N-(4-methoxyphenyl)-N,2,6-trimethyl-6,7-dihydro-5H-cyclopenta[d]pyrimidin-4-aminium chloride and its analogues as antitumor agents 
Journal of medicinal chemistry  2013;56(17):10.1021/jm400639z.
A series of 21 substituted cyclopenta[d]pyrimidines were synthesized as an extension of our discovery of the parent compound 1·HCl as an antimicrotubule agent. The structure-activity relationship indicates that the N-methyl and a 4′-methoxy groups appear important for potent activity. In addition, the 6-substituent in the parent analogue is not necessary for activity. The most potent compound 30·HCl was a 1–2 digit nanomolar inhibitor of most tumor cell proliferations and was up to 7-fold more potent than the parent compound 1·HCl. In addition, 30·HCl inhibited cancer cell proliferation regardless of Pgp or βIII-tubulin status, both of which are known to cause clinical resistance to several antitubulin agents. In vivo efficacy of 30·HCl was demonstrated against a triple negative breast cancer xenograft mouse model. Compound 30·HCl is water soluble, easily synthesized and serves as a lead compound for further preclinical evaluation as an antitumor agent.
PMCID: PMC3850778  PMID: 23895532
cyclopenta[d]pyrimidines; antimitotic; tubulin; colchicine site
7.  Design, synthesis and molecular modeling of novel pyrido[2,3-d]pyrimidine analogs as antifolates: Application of Buchwald-Hartwig aminations of heterocycles 
Journal of medicinal chemistry  2013;56(11):4422-4441.
Opportunistic infections caused by Pneumocystis jirovecii (P. jirovecii, pj), Toxoplasma gondii (T. gondii, tg) and Mycobacterium avium (M. avium, ma) are the principal causes of morbidity and mortality in patients with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). The absence of any animal models for human Pneumocystis jirovecii pneumonia and the lack of crystal structures of pjDHFR and tgDHFR make the design of inhibitors challenging. A novel series of pyrido[2,3-d]pyrimidines as selective and potent DHFR inhibitors against these opportunistic infections are presented. Buchwald-Hartwig coupling reaction of substituted anilines with pivaloyl protected 2,4-diamino-6-bromo-pyrido[2,3-d]pyrimidine was successfully explored to synthesize these analogs. Compound 26 was the most selective inhibitor with excellent potency against pjDHFR. Molecular modeling studies with a pjDHFR homology model explained the potency and selectivity of 26. Structural data are also reported for 26 with pcDHFR and 16 and 22 with variants of pcDHFR.
PMCID: PMC3723128  PMID: 23627352
8.  Synthesis and biological activity of 5-chloro-N4-substituted phenyl-9H-pyrimido[4,5-b]indole-2,4-diamines as vascular endothelial growth factor receptor-2 inhibitors and antiangiogenic agents1 
Bioorganic & medicinal chemistry  2013;21(7):1857-1864.
Inhibition of receptor tyrosine kinase (RTK) signaling pathways is an important area for the development of novel anticancer agents. Numerous multikinase inhibitors (MKIs) have been recently approved for the treatment of cancer. Vascular endothelial growth factor receptor-2 (VEGFR-2) is the principal mediator of tumor angiogenesis. In an effort to develop ATP-competitive VEGFR-2 selective inhibitors the 5-chloro-N4-substituted phenyl-9H-pyrimido[4,5-b]indole-2,4-diamine scaffold was designed. The synthesis of the target compounds involved N-(4,5-dichloro-9H-pyrimido[4,5-b]indol-2-yl)-2,2-dimethylpropanamide) as a common intermediate. A nucleophilic displacement of the 4-chloro group of the common intermediate by appropriately substituted anilines afforded the target compounds. Biological evaluation indicated that compound 5 is a potent and selective VEGFR-2 inhibitor comparable to sunitinib and semaxinib.
PMCID: PMC3602277  PMID: 23434139
Receptor tryosine kinase inhibitors; Pyrimido[4; 5-b]indol synthesis; Cytotoxicity; VEGFR-2 inhibitors
9.  N2-Trimethylacetyl substituted and unsubstituted-N4-phenylsubstituted-6-(2-pyridin-2-ylethyl)-7H-pyrrolo[2,3-d]pyrimidine-2,4-diamines: Design, cellular receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitory activities and in vivo evaluation as antiangiogenic, antimetastatic and antitumor agents 
Bioorganic & medicinal chemistry  2013;21(5):1312-1323.
Six novel N4-phenylsubstituted-6-(2-pyridin-2-ylethyl)-7H-pyrrolo[2,3-d]pyrimidine-2,4-diamines and their N2-trimethylacetyl substituted analogs were synthesized as receptor tyrosine kinase (RTK) inhibitors. A microwave-mediated Sonogashira reaction was used as a key step for the synthesis of these compounds. Biological evaluation, in whole cell assays, showed that some analogs had remarkable inhibitory activity against a variety of RTKs and in particular cytotoxic activity against A431 tumor cells in culture. The inhibitory data against RTKs in this study demonstrated that variation of the 4-anilino substituents of thse analogs dictates both potency and specificity of inhibitory activity against various RTKs. The study also supported the hypothesis that interaction of substituents on the 2-amino group with hydrophobic site-II provides an increase in potency. Compound 8 of this series was selected for evaluation in vivo in a B16-F10 syngeneic mouse tumor model and exhibited significant reduction in tumor growth rate, in tumor vascular density and in metastases to the lung compared to the control.
PMCID: PMC3574204  PMID: 23375090
10.  Synthesis of 5,7-disubstituted-4-methyl-7H-pyrrolo[2, 3-d]pyrimidin-2-amines as microtubule inhibitors 
Bioorganic & medicinal chemistry  2013;21(5):1180-1189.
Compounds 1-4 were previously reported as potent antimitotic and antitumor agents with Pgp modulatory effects. Compounds 5-18 have been synthesized in an attempt to optimize the various activities of 1-4. Compounds 5-10 explored the influence of methoxy substitutions on the 7-benzyl moiety in 1, while 11-18 investigated the influence of incorporation of a sulfur linker at C5 compared to 1-3. Compounds 5-10 demonstrated potent single-digit micromolar tumor cell cytotoxicity, Pgp modulation and microtubule inhibition. Compound 7 of this series was the most potent and showed GI50 values in the nanomolar range against several human tumor cell lines in the standard NCI preclinical in vitro screen. Antitumor activity and Pgp modulatory effects were found to decrease for the 5-phenylthio compounds 11-14 compared to their 5-phenylethyl analogs 2-4 and the standard compound Taxol. Incorporation of methoxy substitutions on the 7-benzyl moiety improved antitumor activity for the 5-phenylthio compounds 16 and 17. Compounds 16 and 17 demonstrated single to two-digit micromolar inhibition of tumor cells.
PMCID: PMC3582361  PMID: 23352482
Pyrrolo[2,3-d]pyrimidines; Microtubule inhibitors; Microwave assisted organic synthesis
11.  Synthesis of N4-(Substituted phenyl)-N4-alkyl/desalkyl-9H-pyrimido[4,5-b]indole-2,4-diamines and Identification of New Microtubule Disrupting Compounds that are Effective against Multidrug Resistant Cells1 
Bioorganic & medicinal chemistry  2012;21(4):891-902.
A series of fourteen N4-(substituted phenyl)-N4-methyl/desmethyl-9H-pyrimido[4,5-b]indole-2,4-diamines was synthesized as potential microtubule targeting agents. The synthesis involved a Fisher indole cyclization of 2-amino-6-hydrazinylpyrimidin-4(3H)-one with cyclohexanone, followed by oxidation, chlorination and displacement with appropriate anilines. Compounds 6, 14 and 15 had low nanomolar potency against MDA-MB-435 tumor cells and depolymerized microtubules. Compound 6 additionally had nanomolar GI50 values against 57 of the NCI 60-tumor panel cell lines. Mechanistic studies showed that 6 inhibited tubulin polymerization and [3H]colchicine binding to tubulin. The most potent compounds were all effective in cells expressing P-glycoprotein or the βIII isotype of tubulin, which have been associated with clinical drug reisistence. Modeling studies provided the potential interactions of 6, 14 and 15 within the colchicine site.
PMCID: PMC3572549  PMID: 23332369
12.  Potent Dual Thymidylate Synthase and Dihydrofolate Reductase Inhibitors: Classical and Nonclassical 2-Amino-4-oxo-5-arylthio-substituted-6-methylthieno[2,3-d]pyrimidine Antifolates 
Journal of medicinal chemistry  2008;51(18):5789-5797.
N-{4-[(2-Amino-6-methyl-4-oxo-3,4-dihydrothieno[2,3-d]pyrimidin-5-yl)sulfanyl]benzoyl}-L-glutamic acid (4) and nine nonclassical analogues 5–13 were synthesized as potential dual thymidylate synthase (TS) and dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR) inhibitors. The key intermediate in the synthesis was 2-amino-6-methylthieno[2,3-d]pyrimidin-4(3H)-one (16), which was converted to the 5-bromo-substituted compound 17 followed by an Ullmann reaction to afford 5–13. The classical analogue 4 was synthesized by coupling the benzoic acid derivative 19 with diethyl l-glutamate and saponification. Compound 4 is the most potent dual inhibitor of human TS (IC50 = 40 nM) and human DHFR (IC50 = 20 nM) known to date. The nonclassical analogues 5–13 were moderately potent against human TS with IC50 values ranging from 0.11 to 4.6 µM. The 4-nitrophenyl analogue 7 was the most potent compound in the nonclassical series, demonstrating potent dual inhibitory activities against human TS and DHFR. This study indicated that the 5-substituted 2-amino-4-oxo-6-methylthieno[2,3-d]pyrimidine scaffold is highly conducive to dual human TS-DHFR inhibitory activity.
PMCID: PMC3892769  PMID: 18800768
13.  N9-Substituted 2,4-Diaminoquinazolines: Synthesis and Biological Evaluation of Lipophilic Inhibitors of Pneumocystis carinii and Toxoplasma gondii Dihydrofolate Reductase 
Journal of medicinal chemistry  2008;51(19):10.1021/jm800694g.
N9-substituted 2,4-diaminoquinazolines were synthesized and evaluated as inhibitors of Pneumocystis carinii (pc) and Toxoplasma gondii (tg) dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR). Reduction of commercially available 2,4-diamino-6-nitroquinazoline 14 with Raney nickel afforded 2,4,6-triaminoquinazoline 15. Reductive amination of 15 with the appropriate benzaldehydes or naphthaldehydes, followed by N9-alkylation, afforded the target compounds 5–13. In the 2,5-dimethoxybenzylamino substituted quinazoline analogues, replacement of the N9—CH3 group of 4 with the N9—C2H5 group of 8 resulted in a 9- and 8-fold increase in potency against pcDHFR and tgDHFR, respectively. The N9—C2H5 substituted compound 8 was highly potent, with IC50 values of 9.9 and 3.7 nM against pcDHFR and tgDHFR, respectively. N9-propyl and N9-cyclopropyl methyl substitutions did not afford further increases in potency. This study indicates that the N9-ethyl substitution is optimum for inhibitory activity against pcDHFR and tgDHFR for the 2,4-diaminoquinazolines. Selectivity was unaffected by N9 substitution.
PMCID: PMC3885247  PMID: 18771252
14.  Design, Synthesis, and Biological Evaluation of Classical and Nonclassical 2-Amino-4-oxo-5-substituted-6-methylpyrrolo[3,2-d]pyrimidines as Dual Thymidylate Synthase and Dihydrofolate Reductase Inhibitors 
Journal of medicinal chemistry  2007;51(1):10.1021/jm701052u.
We designed and synthesized a classical antifolate N-{4-[(2-amino-6-methyl-4-oxo-3,4-dihydro-5H-pyrrolo[3,2-d]pyrimidin-5-yl)methyl]benzoyl}-l-glutamic acid 4 and 11 nonclassical analogues 5–15 as potential dual thymidylate synthase (TS) and dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR) inhibitors. The key intermediate in the synthesis was N-(4-chloro-6-methyl-5H-pyrrolo[3,2-d]pyrimidin-2-yl)-2,2-dimethylpropanamide, 29, to which various 5-benzyl substituents were attached. For the classical analogue 4, the ester obtained from the N-benzylation reaction was deprotected and coupled with diethyl l-glutamate followed by saponification. Compound 4 was a potent dual inhibitor of human TS (IC50 = 46 nM, about 206-fold more potent than pemetrexed) and DHFR (IC50 = 120 nM, about 55-fold more potent than pemetrexed). The nonclassical analogues were marginal inhibitors of human TS, but four analogues showed potent T. gondii DHFR inhibition along with >100-fold selectivity compared to human DHFR.
PMCID: PMC3885252  PMID: 18072727
15.  Discovery of Novel Antitumor Antimitotic Agents That Also Reverse Tumor Resistance1 
Journal of medicinal chemistry  2007;50(14):10.1021/jm070194u.
We have discovered a novel series of 7-benzyl-4-methyl-5-[(2-substituted phenyl)ethyl]-7H-pyrrolo[2,3-d]-pyrimidin-2-amines, which possess antimitotic and antitumor activities against antimitotic-sensitive as well as resistant tumor cells. These agents bind to a site on tubulin that is distinct from the colchicine, vinca alkaloid, and paclitaxel binding sites and some, in addition to their antitumor activity, remarkably also reverse tumor resistance to antimitotic agents mediated via the P-glycoprotein efflux pump. The compounds were synthesized from N-(7-benzyl-5-ethynyl-4-methyl-7H-pyrrolo[2,3-d]pyrimidin-2-yl)-2,2-dimethylpro-panamide 11 or the corresponding 5-iodo analog 14 via Sonogashira couplings with appropriate iodobenzenes or phenylacetylene followed by reduction and deprotection to afford the target analogs. Sodium and liquid NH3 afforded the debenzylated analogs. The most potent analog 1 was one to three digit nanomolar against the growth of both sensitive and resistant tumor cells in culture. Compounds of this series are promising novel antimitotic agents that have the potential for treating both sensitive and resistant tumors.
PMCID: PMC3858178  PMID: 17567121
16.  The Effect of 5-Alkyl Modification on the Biological Activity of Pyrrolo[2,3-d]pyrimidine Containing Classical and Nonclassical Antifolates as Inhibitors of Dihydrofolate Reductase and as Antitumor and/or Antiopportunistic Infection Agents1a-e 
Journal of medicinal chemistry  2008;51(15):10.1021/jm800244v.
Novel classical antifolates (3 and 4) and 17 nonclassical antifolates (11-27) were synthesized as antitumor and/or antiopportunistic infection agents. Intermediates for the synthesis of 3, 4, and 11-27 were 2,4-diamino-5-alkylsubstituted-7H-pyrrolo[2,3-d]pyrimidines, 31 and 38, prepared by a ring transformation/ring annulation sequence of 2-amino-3-cyano-4-alkyl furans to which various aryl thiols were attached at the 6-position via an oxidative addition reaction using I2. The condensation of α-hydroxy ketones with malonodinitrile afforded the furans. For the classical analogues 3 and 4, the ester precursors were deprotected, coupled with diethyl-l-glutamate, and saponified. Compounds 3 (IC50 = 60 nM) and 4 (IC50 = 90 nM) were potent inhibitors of human DHFR. Compound 3 inhibited tumor cells in culture with GI50 ≤ 10−7 M. Nonclassical 17 (IC50 = 58 nM) was a potent inhibitor of Toxoplasma gondii (T. gondii) DHFR with >500-fold selectivity over human DHFR. Analogue 17 was 50-fold more potent than trimethoprim and about twice as selective against T. gondii DHFR.
PMCID: PMC3858179  PMID: 18605720
17.  Novel non-classical C9-methyl-5-substituted-2,4-diaminopyrrolo-[2,3-d]pyrimidines as potential inhibitors of dihydrofolate reductase and as anti-opportunistic agents⋆ 
Bioorganic & medicinal chemistry  2006;14(24):10.1016/j.bmc.2006.09.008.
Six novel C9-methyl-5-substituted-2,4-diaminopyrrolo[2,3-d]pyrimidines 18–23 were synthesized as potential inhibitors of dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR) and as anti-opportunistic agents. These compounds represent the only examples of 9-methyl substitution in the carbon–carbon bridge of 2,4-diaminopyrrolo[2,3-d]pyrimidines. The analogs 18–23 were synthesized in a concise eight-step procedure starting from the appropriate commercially available aromatic methyl ketones. The key step involved a Michael addition reaction of 2,4,6-triaminopyrimidine to the appropriate 1-nitroalkene, followed by ring closure of the nitro adducts via a Nef reaction. The compounds were evaluated as inhibitors of DHFR from Pneumocystis carinii (pc), Toxoplasma gondii (tg), Mycobacterium avium (ma) and rat liver (rl). The biological result indicated that some of these analogs are potent inhibitors of DHFR and some have selectivity for pathogen DHFR. Compound 23 was a two digit nanomolar inhibitor of tgDHFR with 9.6-fold selectivity for tgDHFR.
PMCID: PMC3850751  PMID: 17010625
18.  Design and Synthesis of Classical and Nonclassical 6-Arylthio-2,4-diamino-5-ethylpyrrolo[2,3-d]pyrimidines as Antifolates 
Journal of medicinal chemistry  2007;50(13):10.1021/jm070165j.
The classical antifolate N-{4-[(2,4-diamino-5-ethyl-7H-pyrrolo[2,3-d]pyrimidin-6-yl)sulfanyl]benzoyl}-l-glutamic acid (2) and 15 nonclassical analogues (3–17) were synthesized as potential dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR) inhibitors and as antitumor agents. 5-Ethyl-7H-pyrrolo[2,3-d]pyrimidine-2,4-diamine (20) served as the key intermediate to which various aryl thiols and a heteroaryl thiol were appended at the 6-position via an oxidative addition reaction. The classical analogue 2 was synthesized by coupling the benzoic acid derivative 18 with diethyl l-glutamate followed by saponification. The classical compound 2 was an excellent inhibitor of human DHFR (IC50 = 66 nM) as well as a two digit nanomolar (<100 nM) inhibitor of the growth of several tumor cells in culture. Some of the nonclassical analogues were potent and selective inhibitors of DHFR from two pathogens (Toxoplasma gondii and Mycobacterium avium) that cause opportunistic infections in patients with compromised immune systems.
PMCID: PMC3850752  PMID: 17552508
19.  Synthesis and evaluation of a classical 2,4-diamino-5-substituted-furo[2,3-d]pyrimidine and a 2-amino-4-oxo-6-substituted-pyrrolo[2,3-d]pyrimidine as antifolates☆ 
Bioorganic & medicinal chemistry  2006;14(24):10.1016/j.bmc.2006.08.029.
Two classical antifolates, a 2,4-diamino-5-substituted furo[2,3-d]pyrimidine and a 2-amino-4-oxo-6-substituted pyrrolo[2,3-d]pyrimidine, were synthesized as potential inhibitors of dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR) and thymidylate synthase (TS). The syntheses were accomplished by condensation of 2,6-diamino-3(H)-4-oxo-pyrimidine with α-chloro-ketone 21 to afford two key intermediates 23 and 24, followed by hydrolysis, coupling with l-glutamate diethyl ester and saponification of the diethyl ester to afford the classical antifolates 13 and 14. Compounds 13 and 14 with a single carbon atom bridge are both substrates for folylpoly-γ-glutamate synthetase (FPGS), the enzyme responsible for forming critical poly-γ-glutamate antifolate metabolites with increased potency and/or increased cell retention. Compound 14 is a highly efficient FPGS substrate demonstrating that 2,4-diamino-5-substituted furo[2,3-d]pyrimidines are important lead structures for the design of antifolates with FPGS substrate activity. It retains inhibitory potency for DHFR and TS compared to the two atom bridged analog 5. Compound 13 is a poor inhibitor of purified DHFR and TS, and both 13 and 14 are poor inhibitors of the growth of CCRF-CEM human leukemia cells in culture, indicating that single carbon bridged compounds in these series though conducive to FPGS substrate activity were not potent inhibitors.
PMCID: PMC3850758  PMID: 16990006
Pyrrolo[2,3-d]pyrimidines; Antifolates; Dihydrofolate reductase
20.  Kinetic and Structural Analysis for Potent Antifolate Inhibition of Pneumocystis jirovecii, Pneumocystis carinii, and Human Dihydrofolate Reductases and Their Active-Site Variants 
A major concern of immunocompromised patients, in particular those with AIDS, is susceptibility to infection caused by opportunistic pathogens such as Pneumocystis jirovecii, which is a leading cause of pneumonia in immunocompromised patients. We report the first kinetic and structural data for 2,4-diamino-6-[(2′,5′-dichloro anilino)methyl]pyrido[2,3-d]pyrimidine (OAAG324), a potent inhibitor of dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR) from P. jirovecii (pjDHFR), and also for trimethoprim (TMP) and methotrexate (MTX) with pjDHFR, Pneumocystis carinii DHFR (pcDHFR), and human DHFR (hDHFR). OAAG324 shows a 9.0-fold selectivity for pjDHFR (Ki, 2.7 nM) compared to its selectivity for hDHFR (Ki, 24.4 nM), whereas there is only a 2.3-fold selectivity for pcDHFR (Ki, 6.3 nM). In order to understand the determinants of inhibitory potency, active-site mutations of pj-, pc-, and hDHFR were explored to make these enzymes more like each other. The most unexpected observations were that the variant pcDHFR forms with K37Q and K37Q/F69N mutations, which made the enzyme more like the human form, also made these enzymes more sensitive to the inhibitory activity of OAAG324, with Ki values of 0.26 and 0.71 nM, respectively. A similar gain in sensitivity was also observed for the hDHFR N64F variant, which showed a lower Ki value (0.58 nM) than native hDHFR, pcDHFR, or pjDHFR. Structural data are reported for complexes of OAAG324 with hDHFR and its Q35K and Q35S/N64F variants and for the complex of the K37S/F69N variant of pcDHFR with TMP. These results provide useful insight into the role of these residues in the optimization of highly selective inhibitors of DHFR against the opportunistic pathogen P. jirovecii.
PMCID: PMC3716164  PMID: 23545530
21.  Novel Water Soluble, Substituted Pyrrolo[3,2-d]pyrimidines: Design, Synthesis and Biological Evaluation as Antitubulin Antitumor Agents 
Pharmaceutical research  2012;29(11):3033-3039.
To study the effects of a regioisomeric change on the biological activities of previously reported water soluble, colchicine site binding, microtubule depolymerizing agents.
Nine pyrrolo[3,2-d]pyrimidines were designed and synthesized. The importance of various substituents was evaluated. Their abilities to cause cellular microtubule depolymerization, inhibit proliferation of MDA-MB-435 tumor cells and displace colchicine binding to tubulin were studied. One of the compounds was also evaluated in the National Cancer Institute preclinical 60 cell line panel.
Pyrrolo[3,2-d]pyrimidine analogs were more potent than their pyrrolo[2,3-d]pyrimidine regioisomers. We identified compounds with submicromolar potency against cellular proliferation. The structure-activity relationship study gave insight into substituents that were crucial for activity and those that improved activity. The compound that was tested in the NCI 60 cell line is a 2-digit nanomolar (GI50) inhibitor of 8 tumor cell lines.
We have identified substituted pyrrolo[3,2-d]pyrimidines that are water-soluble colchicine site microtubule depolymerizing agents. These compounds serve as leads for further optimization.
PMCID: PMC3474888  PMID: 22814902
22.  Role of Lysine 411 in Substrate Carboxyl Group Binding to the Human Reduced Folate Carrier, as Determined by Site-directed Mutagenesis and Affinity Inhibition 
Molecular pharmacology  2008;73(4):10.1124/mol.107.043190.
Reduced folate carrier (RFC) is the major membrane transporter for folates and antifolates in mammalian tissues. Recent studies used radioaffinity labeling with N-hydroxysuccinimide (NHS)-3H-methotrexate (MTX) to localize substrate binding to residues in transmembrane domain (TMD) 11 of human RFC. To identify the modified residue(s), seven nucleophilic residues in TMD11 were mutated to Val or Ala and mutant constructs expressed in RFC-null HeLa cells. Only Lys411Ala RFC was not inhibited by NHS-MTX. By radioaffinity labeling with NHS-3H-MTX, wild type (wt) RFC was labeled; for Lys411Ala RFC, radiolabeling was abolished. When Lys411 was replaced with Ala, Arg, Gln, Glu, Leu, and Met, only Lys411Glu RFC showed substantially decreased transport. Nine classical diamino furo[2,3-d]pyrimidine antifolates with unsubstituted α- and γ-carboxylates (1), hydrogen- or methyl-substituted α- (2, 3) or γ- (4, 5) carboxylates, or substitutions of both α- and γ-carboxylates (6, 7, 8, 9) were used to inhibit 3H-MTX transport with RFC-null K562 cells expressing wt and Lys411Ala RFCs. For wt and Lys411Ala RFCs, inhibitory potencies were in the order 4>5>1>3>2; 6-9 were poor inhibitors. Inhibitions decreased in the presence of physiologic anions. When NHS esters of 1, 2, and 4 were used to covalently modify wt RFC, inhibitory potencies were in the order 2>1>4; inhibition was abolished for Lys411Ala RFC. These results suggest that Lys411 participates in substrate binding via an ionic association with the substrate γ-carboxylate, however, this is not essential for transport. An unmodified α-carboxylate is required for high affinity substrate binding to RFC, whereas the γ-carboxyl is not essential.
PMCID: PMC3806200  PMID: 18182479
23.  Therapeutic targeting malignant mesothelioma with a novel 6-substituted pyrrolo[2,3-D]pyrimidine thienoyl antifolate via its selective uptake by the proton-coupled folate transporter 
The 5-substituted pyrrolo[2,3-d]pyrimidine antifolate pemetrexed (Pmx) is an active agent for malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM). Pmx is transported into MPM cells by the reduced folate carrier (RFC) and proton-coupled folate transporter (PCFT). We tested the notion that a novel 6-substituted pyrrolo[2,3-d]pyrimidine thienoyl antifolate (compound 2) might be an effective treatment for MPM, reflecting its highly selective membrane transport by PCFT over RFC. Compound 2 selectively inhibited proliferation of a HeLa subline expressing exclusively PCFT (R1-11-PCFT4) over an isogenic subline expressing only RFC (R1-11-RFC6). By outgrowth, H2452 human MPM cells were highly sensitive to the inhibitory effects of compound 2. By colony-forming assays, following an intermittent (24 h) drug exposure, 2 was cytotoxic. Cytotoxic activity by 2 was due to potent inhibition of glycinamide ribonucleotide formyltransferase (GARFTase) in de novo purine biosynthesis, as confirmed by nucleoside protection and in situ GARFTase assays with [14C]glycine. Assays with [3H]compound 2 and R1-11-PCFT4 or R1-11-RFC6 cells directly confirmed selective membrane transport by PCFT over RFC. PCFT transport was also confirmed for H2452 cells. In R1-11-PCFT4 and H2452 cells, [3H]compound 2 was metabolized to polyglutamates. Potent in vivo efficacy was confirmed toward early- and upstage H2452 xenografts in severe combined immunodeficient mice administered intravenous compound 2. Our results demonstrate potent antitumor efficacy of compound 2 toward H2452 MPM in vitro and in vivo, reflecting its efficient membrane transport by PCFT over RFC, synthesis of polyglutamates, and inhibition of GARFTase. Selectivity for non-RFC cellular uptake processes by novel tumor-targeted antifolates such as compound 2 presents an exciting new opportunity for treating solid tumors.
PMCID: PMC3769948  PMID: 23412628
proton-coupled folate transporter; mesothelioma; folate; antifolate; pemetrexed
24.  Novel tricyclic indeno[2, 1-d]pyrimidines with dual antiangiogenic and cytotoxic activities as potent antitumor agents 
Bioorganic & medicinal chemistry  2012;20(14):4217-4225.
We designed, synthesized and evaluated thirteen novel tricyclic indeno[2,1-d]pyrimidines as RTK inhibitors. These analogues were synthesized via a Dieckmann condensation of 1,2-phenylenediacetonitrile followed by cyclocondensation with guanidine carbonate to afford the 2-amino-3,9-dihydro-indeno[2,1-d]pyrimidin-4-one. Sulfonation of the 4-position followed by displacement with appropriately substituted anilines afforded the target compounds. These compounds were potent inhibitors of platelet-derived growth factor receptor β (PDGFRβ) and inhibited angiogenesis in the chicken embryo chorioallantonic membrane (CAM) assay compared to standards. In addition, compound 7 had a two digit nanomolar GI50 against nine tumor cell lines, a submicromolar GI50 against twenty nine of other tumor cell lines in the preclinical NCI 60 tumor cell line panel. Compound 7 also demonstrated significant in vivo inhibition of tumor growth and angiogenesis in a B16-F10 syngeneic mouse melanoma model.
PMCID: PMC3397428  PMID: 22739090
25.  N4-(3-bromophenyl)-7-(substituted benzyl) pyrrolo[2,3-d]pyrimidines as Potent Multiple Receptor Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitors: Design, Synthesis, and In vivo Evaluation 
Bioorganic & medicinal chemistry  2012;20(7):2444-2454.
With the goal of developing multitargeted receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitors that display potent inhibition against PDGFRβ and VEGFR-2 we designed and synthesized eleven N4-(3-bromophenyl)-7-(substitutedbenzyl) pyrrolo[2,3-d]pyrimidines 9a–19a. These compounds were obtained from the key intermediate N4-(3-bromophenyl)-7H-pyrrolo[2,3-d]pyrimidine-2,4-diamine 29. Various arylmethyl groups were regiospecifically attached at the N7 of 29 via sodium hydride induced alkylation with substituted arylmethyl halides. Compounds 11a and 19a were potent dual inhibitors of PDGFRβ and VEGFR-2. In a COLO-205, in vivo tumor mouse model 11a demonstrated inhibition of tumor growth, metastasis, and tumor angiogenesis that was better than or comparable to the standard compound TSU-68 (SU6668, 8).
PMCID: PMC3310894  PMID: 22370340

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