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1.  Pyruvate kinase M2 activators promote tetramer formation and suppress tumorigenesis 
Nature chemical biology  2012;8(10):839-847.
Cancer cells engage in a metabolic program to enhance biosynthesis and support cell proliferation. The regulatory properties of pyruvate kinase M2 (PKM2) influence altered glucose metabolism in cancer. PKM2 interaction with phosphotyrosine-containing proteins inhibits enzyme activity and increases availability of glycolytic metabolites to support cell proliferation. This suggests that high pyruvate kinase activity may suppress tumor growth. We show that expression of PKM1, the pyruvate kinase isoform with high constitutive activity, or exposure to published small molecule PKM2 activators inhibit growth of xenograft tumors. Structural studies reveal that small molecule activators bind PKM2 at the subunit interaction interface, a site distinct from that of the endogenous activator fructose-1,6-bisphosphate (FBP). However, unlike FBP, binding of activators to PKM2 promotes a constitutively active enzyme state that is resistant to inhibition by tyrosine-phosphorylated proteins. These data support the notion that small molecule activation of PKM2 can interfere with anabolic metabolism.
doi:10.1038/nchembio.1060
PMCID: PMC3711671  PMID: 22922757
2.  ‘Reversine’ and its 2-Substituted Adenine Derivatives as Potent and Selective A3 Adenosine Receptor Antagonists 
Journal of medicinal chemistry  2005;48(15):4910-4918.
The dedifferentiation agent ‘reversine’ (2-(4-morpholinoanilino)-N6-cyclohexyladenine 2) was found to be a moderately potent antagonist for the human A3 adenosine receptor (AR) with a Ki value 0.66 μM. This result prompted an exploration of the structure-activity relationship of related derivatives, synthesized via sequential substitution of 6-chloro-2-fluoropurine with selected nucleophiles. Optimization of substituents at these two positions identified 2-phenylamino-N6-(cyclohexyl)adenine 12, 2-phenylamino-N6-(cycloheptyl)adenine 19, and 2-phenylamino-N6-(endo-norbornyl)adenine 21 as potent A3 AR ligands with Ki values of 51, 42 and 37 nM, respectively, with 30 – 200-fold selectivity in comparison to A1 and A2A ARs. The most selective A3 AR antagonist (>200-fold) was 2-phenyloxy-N6-(cyclohexyl)adenine 22. 9-Methylation of 12, but not 19, was well tolerated in A3 AR binding. Extension of the 2-phenylamino group to 2-benzyl- and 2-(2-phenylethylamino) reduced affinity. In the series of 2-phenylamino, 2-phenyloxy, and 2-phenylthio substitutions, the order of affinity at the A3 AR was oxy ≥ amino > thio. Selected derivatives, including reversine (KB value of 466 nM in Schild analysis), competitively antagonized the functional effects of a selective A3 AR agonist, i.e. inhibition of forskolin-stimulated cAMP production in stably transfected Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells. These results are in agreement with other studies suggesting the presence of a lipophilic pocket in the AR binding site that is filled by moderately sized cycloalkyl rings at the N6 position of both adenine and adenosine derivatives. Thus, the compound series reported herein comprise an important new series of selective A3 AR antagonists. We were unable to reproduce the dedifferentiation effect of reversine, previously reported, or to demonstrate any connection between A3 AR antagonist effects and dedifferentiation.
doi:10.1021/jm050221l
PMCID: PMC3474371  PMID: 16033270
3.  Inhibition of pyruvate kinase M2 by reactive oxygen species contributes to cellular antioxidant responses 
Science (New York, N.Y.)  2011;334(6060):1278-1283.
Control of intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) concentrations is critical for cancer cell survival. We show that, in human lung cancer cells, acute increases in intracellular concentrations of ROS caused inhibition of the glycolytic enzyme pyruvate kinase M2 (PKM2) through oxidation of Cys358. This inhibition of PKM2 is required to divert glucose flux into the pentose phosphate pathway and thereby generate sufficient reducing potential for detoxification of ROS. Lung cancer cells in which endogenous PKM2 was replaced with the Cys358 to Ser358 oxidation-resistant mutant exhibited increased sensitivity to oxidative stress and impaired tumor formation in a xenograft model. Besides promoting metabolic changes required for proliferation, the regulatory properties of PKM2 may confer an additional advantage to cancer cells by allowing them to withstand oxidative stress.
doi:10.1126/science.1211485
PMCID: PMC3471535  PMID: 22052977
4.  Synthesis, Activity and Structural Analysis of Novel α-Hydroxytropolone Inhibitors of Human Immunodeficiency Virus Reverse Transcriptase-Associated Ribonuclease H 
Journal of medicinal chemistry  2011;54(13):4462-4473.
The α-hydroxytroplone, manicol (5,7-dihydroxy-2-isopropenyl-9-methyl-1,2,3,4-tetrahydro-benzocyclohepten-6-one) potently and specifically inhibits ribonuclease H (RNase H) activity of human immunodeficiency virus reverse transcriptase (HIV RT) in vitro. However, manicol was ineffective in reducing virus replication in culture. Ongoing efforts to improve the potency and specificity over the lead compound led us to synthesize 14 manicol derivatives that retain the divalent metal-chelating α-hydroxytropolone pharmacophore. These efforts were augmented by a high resolution structure of p66/p51 HIV-1 RT containing the nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI), TMC278 and manicol in the DNA polymerase and RNase H active sites, respectively. We demonstrate here that several modified α-hydroxytropolones exhibit antiviral activity at non-cytotoxic concentrations. Inclusion of RNase H active site mutants indicated that manicol analogs can occupy an additional site in or around the DNA polymerase catalytic center. Collectively, our studies will promote future structure-based design of improved α-hydroxytropolones to complement the NRTI and NNRTI currently in clinical use.
doi:10.1021/jm2000757
PMCID: PMC3133734  PMID: 21568335
5.  Chiral Kinase Inhibitors 
Small molecule kinase inhibitors are important tools for studying cellular signaling pathways, phenotypes and are, occasionally, useful clinical agents. With stereochemistry pervasive throughout the molecules of life it is no surprise that a single stereocenter can bestow a ligand with distinct binding affinities to various protein targets. While the majority of small molecule kinase inhibitors reported to date are achiral, a number of asymmetric compounds show great utility as tools for probing kinase-associated biomolecular events as well as promising therapeutic leads. The mechanism by which chirality is introduced varies but includes screening of chiral libraries, incorporation of chiral centers during optimization efforts and the rational installation of a chiral moiety as guided by structural and modeling efforts. Here we discuss several advanced chiral small molecule kinase inhibitors where stereochemistry plays an important role in terms of potency and selectivity.
PMCID: PMC3220195  PMID: 21291394
6.  Evaluation of Thieno[3,2-b]pyrrole[3,2-d]pyridazinones as Activators of the Tumor Cell Specific M2 Isoform of Pyruvate Kinase 
Cancer cells have distinct metabolic needs that are different from normal cells and can be exploited for development of anti-cancer therapeutics. Activation of the tumor specific M2 form of pyruvate kinase (PKM2) is a potential strategy for returning cancer cells to a metabolic state characteristic of normal cells. Here, we describe activators of PKM2 based upon a substituted thieno[3,2-b]pyrrole[3,2-d]pyridazinone scaffold. The synthesis of these agents, structure activity relationships, analysis of activity at related targets (PKM1, PKR and PKL) and examination of aqueous solubility are investigated. These agents represent the second reported chemotype for activation of PKM2.
doi:10.1016/j.bmcl.2010.04.015
PMCID: PMC2874658  PMID: 20451379
Warburg effect; pyruvate kinase; cellular metabolism; anti-cancer strategies; small molecule activators
7.  Evaluation of Substituted N,N′-Diarylsulfonamides as Activators of the Tumor Cell Specific M2 Isoform of Pyruvate Kinase 
The metabolism of cancer cells is altered to support rapid proliferation. Pharmacological activators of a tumor cell specific pyruvate kinase isozyme (PKM2) may be an approach for altering the classic Warburg effect characteristic of aberrant metabolism in cancer cells yielding a novel anti-proliferation strategy. In this manuscript we detail the discovery of a series of substituted N,N′-diarylsulfonamides as activators of PKM2. The synthesis of numerous analogues and the evaluation of structure activity relationships are presented as well as assessments of mechanism and selectivity. Several agents are found that have good potencies and appropriate solubility for use as chemical probes of PKM2 including 55 (AC50 = 43 nM, maximum response = 84%; solubility = 7.3 μg/mL), 56 (AC50 = 99 nM, maximum response = 84%; solubility = 5.7 μg/mL) and 58 (AC50 = 38 nM, maximum response = 82%; solubility = 51.2 μg/mL). The small molecules described here represent first-in-class activators of PKM2
doi:10.1021/jm901577g
PMCID: PMC2818804  PMID: 20017496
Warburg effect; pyruvate kinase; cellular metabolism; high-throughput screening; small molecule activators
9.  Proteasome Inactivation Promotes p38 Mitogen-activated Protein Kinase-dependent Phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase Activation and Increases Interleukin-8 Production in Retinal Pigment Epithelial Cells 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2009;20(16):3690-3699.
Oxidative stress and inflammation are implicated in the pathogenesis of many age-related diseases. We have demonstrated previously that oxidative inactivation of the proteasome is a molecular link between oxidative stress and overexpression of interleukin (IL)-8. Here, we elucidated a novel signaling cascade that leads to up-regulation of IL-8 in response to proteasome inactivation. The sequence of events in this cascade includes proteasome inactivation, activation of mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase (MKK)3/MKK6, activation of p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK), epidermal growth factor receptor phosphorylation, phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) activation and increased IL-8 expression. Blocking any of these signaling pathways abolished the up-regulation of IL-8 induced by proteasome inhibition. Although Akt is also activated in response to proteasome inactivation, we found that the PI3K-dependent up-regulation of IL-8 is independent of 3-phosphoinositide-dependent protein kinase (PDK)1 and Akt. Inhibition of PDK1 and Akt with chemical inhibitors or expression of constitutive active Akt had little effects on IL-8 expression in response to proteasome inactivation. In contrast, inhibition of interleukin 2-inducible T cell kinase, a kinase downstream of PI3K, significantly reduced the expression and secretion of IL-8 in response to proteasome inactivation. Together, these data elucidate a novel signaling network that leads to increased IL-8 production in response to proteasome inactivation.
doi:10.1091/mbc.E08-10-1068
PMCID: PMC2777929  PMID: 19570915
10.  Examining the Chirality, Conformation and Selective Kinase Inhibition of 3-((3R,4R)-4-methyl-3-(methyl(7H-pyrrolo[2,3-d]pyrimidin-4-yl)amino)piperidin-1-yl)-3-oxopropanenitrile (CP-690,550) 
Journal of medicinal chemistry  2008;51(24):8012-8018.
Here, we examine the significance that stereochemistry plays within the clinically relevant Janus Kinase 3 (Jak3) inhibitor CP-690,550. A synthesis of all four enantiopure stereoisomers of the drug was carried out and an examination of each compound revealed that only the enantiopure 3R, 4R isomer was capable of blocking Stat5 phosphorylation (Jak3 dependent). Each compound was profiled across a panel of over 350 kinases which revealed a high level of selectivity for the Jak family kinases for these related compounds. Each stereoisomer retained a degree of binding to Jak3 and Jak2 and the 3R, 4S and 3S, 4R stereoisomers were further revealed to have binding affinity for selected members of the STE7 and STE20 subfamily of kinases. Finally, an appraisal of the minimum energy conformation of each stereoisomer and molecular docking at Jak3 was performed in an effort to better understand each compounds selectivity and potency profiles.
doi:10.1021/jm801142b
PMCID: PMC2660606  PMID: 19053756
Janus Kinase 3; CP-690,550; Kinase inhibition; Chiral drugs
11.  Evaluation of Small Molecule Modulators of the Luteinizing Hormone/Choriogonadotropin and Thyroid Stimulating Hormone Receptors: Structure Activity Relationships and Selective Binding Patterns 
Journal of medicinal chemistry  2006;49(13):3888-3896.
The substituted thieno[2,3-d]pyrimidine 3 (Org 41841), a partial agonist for the luteinizing hormone/choriogonadotropin receptor (LHCGR) and the closely related thyroid-stimulating hormone receptor (TSHR), was fundamentally altered and the resulting analogues were analyzed for their potencies, efficacies and specificities at LHCGR and TSHR. Chemical modification of the parent compound combined with prior mutagenesis of TSHR provided compelling experimental evidence in support of computational models of 3 binding to TSHR and LHCGR within their transmembrane cores. Biochemical analysis of a specific modification to the chemical structure of 3 provides additional evidence of a H-bond between the ligand and a glutamate residue in transmembrane helix 3, which is conserved in both receptors. Several key interactions were surveyed to determine their respective biochemical roles in terms of both van der Waals dimensions and hydrogen bond capacity and the respective relationship to biological activity.
doi:10.1021/jm060247s
PMCID: PMC2543117  PMID: 16789744
Thyroid Stimulating Hormone Receptor; Luteinizing Hormone/Choriogonadotropin Receptor; Org 41841

Results 1-11 (11)