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1.  Design, Synthesis, and Binding Affinity of Homologated 4′-Thioadenosine Derivatives at the human A3 Adenosine receptor 
Bioorganic & medicinal chemistry  2010;18(19):7015-7021.
We synthesized homologated truncated 4′-thioadenosine analogues 3 in which a methylene (CH2) group was inserted in place of the glycosidic bond of a potent and selective A3 adenosine receptor antagonist 2. The analogues were designed to induce maximum binding interaction in the binding site of the A3 adenosine receptor. However, all homologated nucleosides were devoid of binding affinity at all subtypes of adenosine receptors, indicating that free rotation through the single bond allowed the compound to adopt an indefinite number of conformations, disrupting the favorable binding interaction essential for receptor recognition.
PMCID: PMC3724522  PMID: 20826090
homologation; A3 adenosine receptor; binding affinity; truncated 4′-thioadenosine
2.  Stereoselective Synthesis of Truncated 3’-Aminoadenosine Derivatives and their Binding Affinity at the A3 Adenosine Receptor 
Organic & biomolecular chemistry  2011;9(20):6955-6962.
The stereoselective synthesis of truncated 3’-aminocarbanucleosides 4a–d via a stereo- and regioselective conversion of a diol 9 to bromoacetate 11a and their binding affinity towards the human A3 adenosine receptor are described.
PMCID: PMC3616502  PMID: 21860878
3.  Structure-Activity Relationships of Truncated D- and L-4′-Thioadenosine Derivatives as Species-Independent A3 Adenosine Receptor Antagonists1 
Journal of medicinal chemistry  2008;51(20):6609-6613.
Novel D- and L-4′-thioadenosine derivatives lacking the 4′-hydroxymethyl moiety were synthesized, starting from D-mannose and D-gulonic γ-lactone, respectively, as potent and selective species-independent A3 adenosine receptor (AR) antagonists. Among the novel 4′-truncated 2-H nucleosides tested, a N6-(3-chlorobenzyl) derivative 7c was the most potent at the human A3 AR (Ki = 1.5 nM), but a N6-(3-bromobenzyl) derivative 7d showed the optimal species-independent binding affinity.
PMCID: PMC3616494  PMID: 18811138
4.  Structure-Activity Relationships of Truncated Adenosine Derivatives as Highly Potent and Selective Human A3 Adenosine Receptor Antagonists 
Bioorganic & medicinal chemistry  2009;17(10):3733-3738.
On the basis of potent and selective binding affinity of truncated 4′-thioadenosine derivatives at the human A3 adenosine receptor (AR), their bioisosteric 4′-oxo derivatives were designed and synthesized from commercially available 2,3-O-isopropylidene-d-erythrono lactone. The derivatives tested in AR binding assays were substituted at the C2 and N6 positions. All synthesized nucleosides exhibited potent and selective binding affinity at the human A3 AR. They were less potent than the corresponding 4′-thio analogues, but showed higher selectivity to other subtypes. The 2-Cl series generally were better than the 2-H series in view of binding affinity and selectivity. Among compounds tested, compound 5d (X = Cl, R = 3-bromobenzyl) showed the highest binding affinity (Ki = 13.0±6.9 nM) at the hA3 AR with high selectivity (at least 1000-fold) in comparison to other AR subtypes. Like the corresponding truncated 4′-thio series, compound 5d antagonized the action of an agonist to inhibit forskolin-stimulated adenylate cyclase in hA3 AR-expressing CHO cells. Although the 4′-oxo series were less potent than the 4′-thio series, this class of human A3 AR antagonists is also regarded as another good template for the design of A3 AR antagonists and for further drug development.
PMCID: PMC3578599  PMID: 19375920
A3 Adenosine Receptor; Antagonists; Truncated Adenosine; Structure-Activity Relationships
5.  Structure-Activity Relationships of Truncated C2- or C8-Substituted Adenosine Derivatives as Dual Acting A2A and A3 Adenosine Receptor Ligands 
Journal of Medicinal Chemistry  2011;55(1):342-356.
Truncated N6-substituted-4′-oxo- and 4′-thioadenosine derivatives with C2 or C8 substitution were studied as dual acting A2A and A3 adenosine receptor (AR) ligands. The lithiation-mediated stannyl transfer and palladium-catalyzed cross coupling reactions were utilized for functionalization of the C2 position of 6-chloropurine nucleosides. An unsubstituted 6-amino group and a hydrophobic C2 substituent were required for high affinity at the hA2AAR, but hydrophobic C8 substitution abolished binding at the hA2AAR. However, most of synthesized compounds displayed medium to high binding affinity at the hA3AR, regardless of C2 or C8 substitution, and low efficacy in a functional cAMP assay. Several compounds tended to be full hA2AAR agonists. C2 substitution probed geometrically through hA2AAR-docking, was important for binding in order of hexynyl > hexenyl > hexanyl. Compound 4g was the most potent ligand acting dually as hA2AAR agonist and hA3AR antagonist, which might be useful for treatment of asthma or other inflammatory diseases.
PMCID: PMC3266722  PMID: 22142423
lithiation-mediated stannyl transfer; structure-activity relationship; adenosine receptors; truncated adenosine; palladium-catalyzed cross coupling; dual-acting ligands
6.  Orthogonal activation of the reengineered A3 adenosine receptor (neoceptor) using tailored nucleoside agonists 
Journal of medicinal chemistry  2006;49(9):2689-2702.
An alternative approach to overcome the inherent lack of specificity of conventional agonist therapy can be the reengineering of the GPCRs and their agonists. A reengineered receptor (neoceptor) could be selectively activated by a modified agonist, but not by the endogenous agonist. Assisted by rhodopsin-based molecular modeling, we pinpointed mutations of the A3 adenosine receptor (AR) for selective affinity enhancement following complementary modifications of adenosine. Ribose modifications examined included, at 3′: amino, aminomethyl, azido, guanidino, ureido; and at 5′: uronamido, azidodeoxy. N6-variations included: 3-iodobenzyl, 5-chloro-2-methyloxybenzyl, and methyl. An N6-3-iodobenzyl-3′-ureido adenosine derivative 10 activated phospholipase C in COS-7 cells (EC50=0.18 μM) or phospholipase D in chick primary cardiomyocytes mediated by a mutant (H272E), but not the wild-type, A3AR. The affinity enhancements for 10 and the corresponding 3′-acetamidomethyl analogue 6 were >100-fold and >20-fold, respectively. 10 concentration-dependently protected cardiomyocytes transfected with the neoceptor against hypoxia. Unlike 10, adenosine activated the wild-type A3AR (EC50 of 1.0 μM), but had no effect on the H272E mutant A3AR (100 μM). Compound 10 was inactive at human A1, A2A, and A2BARs. The orthogonal pair comprising an engineered receptor and a modified agonist should be useful for elucidating signaling pathways and could be therapeutically applied to diseases following organ-targeted delivery of the neoceptor gene.
PMCID: PMC3471142  PMID: 16640329
7.  Design and Synthesis of N6-Substituted-4′-thioadenosine-5′-uronamides As Potent and Selective Human A3 Adenosine Receptor Agonists 
Bioorganic & medicinal chemistry  2009;17(23):8003-8011.
On the basis of a bioisosteric rationale, 4′-thionucleoside analogues of IB-MECA, which is a potent and selective A3 adenosine receptor agonist (AR), were synthesized from d-gulonic acid γ-lactone. The 4′-thio analogue (5h) of IB-MECA showed extremely high binding affinity (Ki = 0.25 nM) at the human A3AR and was more potent than IB-MECA (Ki = 1.4 nM). Bulky substituents at the 5′-uronamide position, such as cyclohexyl and 2- methylbenzyl, in this series of 2-H nucleoside derivatives were tolerated in A3AR binding, although small alkyl analogues were more potent.
PMCID: PMC2797373  PMID: 19879151
A3 adenosine receptor; 4’-thionucleosides; agonist; binding affinity
8.  Inactivation of the Cullin (CUL)-RING E3 ligase by the NEDD8-activating enzyme inhibitor MLN4924 triggers protective autophagy in cancer cells 
Autophagy  2012;8(11):1677-1679.
The multiunit Cullin (CUL)-RING E3 ligase (CRL) controls diverse biological processes by targeting a mass of substrates for ubiquitination and degradation, whereas its dysfunction causes carcinogenesis. Post-translational neddylation of CUL, a process triggered by the NEDD8-activating enzyme E1 subunit 1 (NAE1), is required for CRL activation. Recently, MLN4924 was discovered via a high-throughput screen as a specific NAE1 inhibitor and first-in-class anticancer drug. By blocking CUL neddylation, MLN4924 inactivates CRL and causes the accumulation of CRL substrates that trigger cell cycle arrest, senescence and/or apoptosis to suppress the growth of cancer cells in vitro and in vivo. Recently, we found that MLN4924 also triggers protective autophagy in response to CRL inactivation. MLN4924-induced autophagy is attributed partially to the inhibition of mechanistic target of rapamycin (also known as mammalian target of rapamycin, MTOR) activity by the accumulation of the MTOR inhibitory protein DEPTOR, as well as reactive oxygen species (ROS)-induced stress. Moreover, the blockage of autophagy response enhances apoptosis in MLN4924-treated cells. Together, our findings not only reveal autophagy as a novel cellular response to CRL inactivation by MLN4924, but also provide a piece of proof-of-concept evidence for the combination of MLN4924 with autophagy inhibitors to enhance therapeutic efficacy.
PMCID: PMC3494597  PMID: 22874562
Cullin-RING E3 ligase; SKP1-Cullin-F-box (SCF) E3 ligase; neddylation; NEDD8-activating enzyme; MLN4924; autophagy; DEPTOR; MTOR
9.  Discovery of A New Human A2A Adenosine Receptor Agonist, Truncated 2-Hexynyl-4′-thioadenosine 
ACS Medicinal Chemistry Letters  2010;1(9):516-520.
The truncated C2- and C8-substituted 4′-thioadenosine derivatives 4a−d were synthesized from d-mannose, using palladium-catalyzed cross-coupling reactions as key steps. In this study, an A3 adenosine receptor (AR) antagonist, truncated 4′-thioadenosine derivative 3, was successfully converted into a potent A2A AR agonist 4a (Ki = 7.19 ± 0.6 nM) by appending a 2-hexynyl group at the C2-position of a derivative of 3 that was N6-substituted. However, C8-substitution greatly reduced binding affinity at the human A2A AR. All synthesized compounds 4a−d maintained their affinity at the human A3 AR, but 4a was found to be a competitive A3 AR antagonist/A2A AR agonist in cyclic AMP assays. This study indicates that the truncated C2-substituted 4′-thioadenosine derivatives 4a and 4b can serve as novel templates for the development of new A2A AR ligands.
PMCID: PMC3030271  PMID: 21286238
A2A adenosine receptor agonists; truncated 2-hexynyl-4′-thioadenosine; palladium-catalyzed cross-coupling reactions; binding mode
10.  Nucleoside-Derived Antagonists to A3 Adenosine Receptors Lower Mouse Intraocular Pressure and Act across Species 
Experimental eye research  2009;90(1):146-154.
The purpose of the study was to determine whether novel, selective antagonists of human A3 adenosine receptors (ARs) derived from the A3-selective agonist Cl-IB-MECA lower intraocular pressure (IOP) and act across species. IOP was measured invasively with a micropipette by the Servo-Null Micropipette System (SNMS) and by non-invasive pneumotonometry during topical drug application. Antagonist efficacy was also assayed by measuring inhibition of adenosine-triggered shrinkage of native bovine nonpigmented ciliary epithelial (NPE) cells. Five agonist-based A3AR antagonists lowered mouse IOP measured with SNMS tonometry by 3–5 mm Hg within minutes of topical application. Of the five agonist derivatives, LJ 1251 was the only antagonist to lower IOP measured by pneumotonometry. No effect was detected pneumotonometrically over 30 min following application of the other four compounds, consonant with slower, smaller responses previously measured non-invasively following topical application of A3AR agonists and the dihydropyridine A3AR antagonist MRS 1191. Latanoprost similarly lowered SNMS-measured IOP, but not IOP measured non-invasively over 30 minutes. Like MRS 1191, agonist-based A3AR antagonists applied to native bovine NPE cells inhibited adenosine-triggered shrinkage. In summary, the results indicate that antagonists of human A3ARs derived from the potent, selective A3 agonist Cl-IB-MECA display efficacy in mouse and bovine cells, as well. When intraocular delivery was enhanced by measuring mouse IOP invasively, five derivatives of the A3AR agonist Cl-IB-MECA lowered IOP but only one rapidly reduced IOP measured non-invasively after topical application. We conclude that derivatives of the highly selective A3AR agonist Cl-IB-MECA can reduce IOP upon reaching their intraocular target, and that nucleoside-based derivatives are promising A3 antagonists for study in multiple animal models.
PMCID: PMC2789191  PMID: 19878673
Aqueous humor; Servo-Null Micropipette System; pneumotonometry; nucleoside-based antagonists; bovine nonpigmented ciliary epithelial cells
11.  Synthesis and structure–activity relationship studies of tyrosine-based antagonists at the human P2X7 receptor 
Analogues of the P2X7 receptor antagonist KN-62, modified at the piperazine and arylsulfonyl groups, were synthesized and assayed at the human P2X7 receptor for inhibition of BzATP-induced effects, that is, uptake of a fluorescent dye (ethidium bromide) in stably transfected HEK293 cells and IL-1β release in differentiated THP-1 cells. Substitution of the arylsulfonyl moiety with a nitro group increased antagonistic potency relative to methyl substitution, such that compound 21 was slightly more potent than KN-62. Substitution with D-tyrosine in 36 and sterically bulky tyrosyl 2,6-dimethyl groups in 9 enhanced antagonistic potency.
PMCID: PMC2782582  PMID: 18078749
P2X7 receptor; Tyrosine-based antagonists; Ethidium bromide uptake; IL-1β release
12.  Synthesis of 2-Chloro-N6-Substituted-4′-thioadenosine-5′-N,N-dialkyluronamides as Potent and Selective A3 Adenosine Receptor Antagonists 
The highly selective A3 receptor agonist, 4′-thio-Cl-IB-MECA was successfully converted into selective A3 receptor antagonists by appending a second N-alkyl group on the 5′-uronamide position. This result indicates that the hydrogen bonding ability of the 5′-uronamide is essential for the conformational change required for the receptor activation. Among compounds tested, a N6-(3-bromobenzyl) derivative with 5′-dimethyluronamide exhibited the highest binding affinity (Ki = 9.32 nM) at the human A3 AR with very-low binding affinities to other AR subtypes.
PMCID: PMC2748263  PMID: 18776545
13.  Selective A3 Adenosine Receptor Antagonists Derived from Nucleosides Containing a Bicyclo[3.1.0]hexane Ring System 
Bioorganic & medicinal chemistry  2008;16(18):8546-8556.
We have prepared 5′-modified derivatives of adenosine and a corresponding (N)-methanocarba nucleoside series containing a bicyclo[3.1.0]hexane ring system in place of the ribose moiety. The compounds were examined in binding assays at three subtypes of adenosine receptors (ARs) and in functional assays at the A3 AR. The H-bonding ability of a group of 9-riboside derivatives containing a 5′-uronamide moiety was reduced by modification of the NH, however these derivatives did not display the desired activity as selective A3 AR antagonists, as occurs with 5′-N,N-dimethyluronamides. However, truncated (N)-methanocarba analogues lacking a 4′-hydroxymethyl group were highly potent and selective antagonists of the human A3 AR. The compounds were synthesized from D-ribose using a reductive free radical decarboxylation of a 5′-carboxy intermediate. A less efficient synthetic approach began with L-ribose, which was similar to the published synthesis of (N)-methanocarba A3AR agonists. Compounds 33b – 39b (N6-3-halobenzyl and related arylalkyl derivatives) were potent A3AR antagonists with binding Ki values of 0.7 − 1.4 nM. In a functional assay of [35S]GTPγS binding, 33b (3-iodobenzyl) completely inhibited stimulation by NECA with a KB of 8.9 nM. Thus, a highly potent and selective series of A3AR antagonists has been described.
PMCID: PMC2593936  PMID: 18752961
G protein-coupled receptor; purines; molecular modeling; structure activity relationship; radioligand binding; adenylate cyclase
14.  Synthesis of 3'-Acetamidoadenosine Derivatives as Potential A3 Adenosine Receptor Agonists 
On the basis of high binding affinity of 3'-aminoadenosine derivatives 2b at the human A3 adenosine receptor (AR), 3'-acetamidoadenosine derivatives 3a–e were synthesized from 1,2:5,6-di-O-isopropylidene-d-glucose via stereoselective hydroboration as a key step. Although all synthesized compounds were totally devoid of binding affinity at the human A3AR, our results revealed that 3′-position of adenosine can only be tolerated with small size of a hydrogen bonding donor like hydroxyl or amino group in the binding site of human A3AR.
PMCID: PMC2692331  PMID: 18404574
3'-acetamidoadenosines; human A3 adenosine receptor; hydrogen bonding donor; hydroboration-oxidation; steric effects
15.  Role of Adenosine A3 Receptors on CA1 Hippocampal Neurotransmission During Oxygen-Glucose Deprivation Episodes of Different Duration 
Biochemical pharmacology  2007;74(5):768-779.
The role of adenosine A3 receptors in synaptic transmission under severe (7 min) and shorter (2-5 min) ischemic conditions, obtained by oxygen and glucose deprivation (OGD), was investigated in rat hippocampal slices. The effects of selective A3 agonists or antagonists were examined on field excitatory postsynaptic potentials (fEPSPs) extracellularly recorded at the dendritic level of the CA1 pyramidal region. The novel, selective A3 antagonist LJ1251 ((2R,3R,4S)-2-(2-chloro-6-(3-iodobenzylamino)-9H-purin-9-yl)tetrahydrothiophene-3,4-diol, 0.1-10 nM) protected hippocampal slices from irreversible fEPSP depression induced by severe OGD and prevented or delayed the appearance of anoxic depolarization. Similar results were obtained when severe OGD was carried out with a long, receptor-desensitizing exposure to various selective A3 agonists: 5′-N-methylcarboxamidoadenosine derivatives Cl-IB-MECA (N6-(3-iodobenzyl)-2-chloro), VT72 (N6-methoxy-2-phenylethynyl), VT158 (N6-methoxy-2-phenylethynyl), VT160 (N6-methoxy-2-(2-pyridinyl)-ethynyl), and VT163 (N6-methoxy-2-p-acetylphenylethynyl) and AR132 (N6-methyl-2-phenylethynyladenosine).
The selective A3 antagonist MRS1523 (3-propyl-6-ethyl-5-[(ethylthio)carbonyl]-2-phenyl-4-propyl-3-pyridine carboxylate, 100 nM) reduced fEPSP depression evoked by 2-min OGD and induced a faster recovery of fEPSP amplitude after 5-min OGD. Similar results were obtained for 2- or 5-min OGD applied in the presence of each of the A3 agonists tested. Shorter exposure to A3 agonists significantly delayed the recovery of fEPSP amplitude after 5-min OGD.
This indicates that A3 receptors, stimulated by selective A3 agonists, undergo desensitization during OGD. It is inferred that CA1 hippocampal A3 receptors stimulated by adenosine released during brief ischemia (2 and 5 min) might exert A1-like protective effects on neurotransmission. Severe ischemia would transform the A3 receptor-mediated effects from protective to injurious.
PMCID: PMC2000832  PMID: 17626785
purines; G protein-coupled receptors; cerebral ischemia; hippocampal slices; field EPSP; desensitization
16.  Conversion of A3 Adenosine Receptor Agonists into Selective Antagonists by Modification of the 5′-Ribofuran-uronamide Moiety 
The highly selective agonists of the A3 adenosine receptor (AR), Cl-IB-MECA (2-chloro-N6-(3-iodobenzyl)-5′-N-methylcarboxamidoadenosine) and its 4′-thio analogue, were successfully converted into selective antagonists simply by appending a second N-methyl group on the 5′-uronamide position. The 2-chloro-5′-(N,N-dimethyl)uronamido analogues bound to, but did not activate the human A3AR, with Ki values of 29 nM (4′-O) and 15 (4′-S) nM, showing >100-fold selectivity over A1, A2A, and A2BARs. Competitive antagonism was demonstrated by Schild analysis. The 2-(dimethylamino)-5′-(N,N-dimethyl)uronamido substitution also retained A3AR selectivity but lowered affinity.
PMCID: PMC1351218  PMID: 16289820
nucleoside; G protein-coupled receptor; adenylyl cyclase; molecular modeling; radioligand binding; AR, adenosine receptor; CGS21680, 2-[p-(2-carboxyethyl)phenylethylamino]-5′-N-ethylcarboxamido-adenosine; CHO, Chinese hamster ovary; Cl-IB-MECA, 2-chloro-N6-(3-iodobenzyl)-5′-N-methylcarboxamidoadenosine; CPA, N6-cyclopentyladenosine; DMEM, Dulbecco’s modified Eagle’s medium; I-AB-MECA, N6-(4-amino-3-iodobenzyl)-5′-N-methylcarboxamidoadenosine; NECA, 5′-N-ethylcarboxamidoadenosine; PIA, N6-(phenylisopropyl)adenosine; PTLC, preparative thin layer chromatography

Results 1-16 (16)