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1.  A novel class of ion displacement ligands as antagonists of the αIIbβ3 receptor that limit conformational reorganization of the receptor 
A collection of αIIbβ3 integrin receptor antagonists possessing a unique MIDAS metal ion displacement mechanism of action is presented. Insight into these agents’ structure-activity relationships, binding modality, and pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic profiles highlight the potential of these small molecule ion displacement ligands as attractive candidates for clinical development.
PMCID: PMC3951875  PMID: 24461295
2.  Exploratory Analysis of Kinetic Solubility Measurements of a Small Molecule Library 
Bioorganic & medicinal chemistry  2011;19(13):4127-4134.
Kinetic solubility measurements using prototypical assay buffer conditions are presented for a ~58,000 member library of small molecules. Analyses of the data based upon physical and calculated properties of each individual molecule were performed and resulting trends were considered in the context of commonly held opinions of how physicochemical properties influence aqueous solubility. We further analyze the data using a decision tree model for solubility prediction and via a multi-dimensional assessment of physicochemical relationships to solubility in the context of specific ‘rule-breakers’ relative to common dogma. The role of solubility as a determinant of assay outcome is also considered based upon each compound’s cross-assay activity score for a collection of publicly available screening results. Further, the role of solubility as a governing factor for colloidal aggregation formation within a specified assay setting is examined and considered as a possible cause of a high cross-assay activity score. The results of this solubility profile should aid chemists during library design and optimization efforts and represents a useful training set for computational solubility prediction.
PMCID: PMC3236531  PMID: 21640593
3.  Structure-Activity Relationship Studies and Biological Characterization of Human NAD+-dependent 15-Hydroxyprostaglandin Dehydrogenase Inhibitors 
The structure-activity relationship (SAR) study of two chemotypes identified as inhibitors of the human NAD+-dependent 15-hydroxyprostaglandin dehydrogenase (HPGD, 15-PGDH) was conducted. Top compounds from both series displayed potent inhibition (IC50 <50 nM), demonstrate excellent selectivity towards HPGD and potently induce PGE2 production in A549 lung cancer and LNCaP prostate cancer cells.
PMCID: PMC3970110  PMID: 24360556
HPGD; 15-PGDH; prostaglandin; PGE2; inhibitor
4.  Potent and Selective Small Molecule Inhibitors of Specific Isoforms of Cdc2-like Kinases (Clk) and Dual Specificity Tyrosine-Phosphorylation-Regulated Kinases (Dyrk) 
Continued examination of substituted 6-arylquinazolin-4-amines as Clk4 inhibitors resulted in selective inhibitors of Clk1, Clk4, Dyrk1A and Dyrk1B. Several of the most potent inhibitors were validated as being highly selective within a comprehensive kinome scan.
PMCID: PMC3085634  PMID: 21450467
Clk1; Clk2; Clk3; Clk4; Dyrk1A; Dyrk1B; Pre-mRNA splicing; kinase inhibition; quinazoline
5.  Total synthesis of LL-Z1640-2 utilizing a late-stage intramolecular Nozaki-Hiyama-Kishi reaction 
Tetrahedron letters  2010;51(52):6852-6855.
A total synthesis of LL-Z1640-2 (2), a potent and selective kinase inhibitor, has been completed. The key step of the convergent synthesis utilized a late-stage intramolecular Nozaki-Hiyama-Kishi (NHK) reaction to close the macrocycle at the C6′-C7′ bond.
PMCID: PMC3079232  PMID: 21516235
6.  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
7.  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.
PMCID: PMC2874658  PMID: 20451379
Warburg effect; pyruvate kinase; cellular metabolism; anti-cancer strategies; small molecule activators
8.  A Highly Potent and Selective Caspase 1 Inhibitor that Utilizes a Key 3-Cyanopropanoic Acid Moiety 
ChemMedChem  2010;5(5):730-738.
Herein we examine the potential of a nitrile-containing proprionic acid moiety as an electrophile for covalent attack by the active site cysteine residue of caspase 1. The syntheses of several cyanopropanate containing small molecules based upon the optimized peptidic scaffold of the prodrug VX-765 were accomplished and found to be potent inhibitors of caspase 1 (IC50s ≤ 1 nM). Examination of these novel small molecules versus a caspase panel demonstrated an impressive degree of selectivity for caspase 1 inhibition. Assessment of hydrolytic stability and selected ADME properties highlighted these agents as potentially useful tools for studying caspase 1 down-regulation in various settings including in vivo analyses.
PMCID: PMC3062473  PMID: 20229566
Inhibitor; enzymes; prodrugs; peptides; caspase 1 inhibitor; Cysteine proteases; Caspase 1; VX-765; VRT-043198; covalent modifiers,; nitrile caspase inhibitors
9.  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
PMCID: PMC2818804  PMID: 20017496
Warburg effect; pyruvate kinase; cellular metabolism; high-throughput screening; small molecule activators
11.  Evaluation of substituted 6-arylquinazolin-4-amines as potent and selective inhibitors of cdc2-like kinases (Clk) 
A series of substituted 6-arylquinazolin-4-amines were prepared and analyzed as inhibitors of Clk4. Synthesis, structure activity-relationships and the selectivity of a potent analogue against a panel of 402 kinases are presented. Inhibition of Clk4 by these agents at varied concentrations of assay substrates (ATP and receptor peptide) highly suggests that this chemotype is an ATP competitive inhibitor. Molecular docking provides further evidence that inhibition is the result of binding at the kinase hinge region. Selected compounds represent novel tools capable of potent and selective inhibition of Clk1, Clk4 and Dyrk1A.
PMCID: PMC2807730  PMID: 19837585
kinase inhibition; pre-mRNA splicing; Clk; Dyrk1A
12.  The Pilot Phase of the NIH Chemical Genomics Center 
The NIH Chemical Genomics Center (NCGC) was the inaugural center of the Molecular Libraries and Screening Center Network (MLSCN). Along with the nine other research centers of the MLSCN, the NCGC was established with a primary goal of bringing industrial technology and experience to empower the scientific community with small molecule compounds for use in their research. We intend this review to serve as 1) an introduction to the NCGC standard operating procedures, 2) an overview of several of the lessons learned during the pilot phase and 3) a review of several of the innovative discoveries reported during the pilot phase of the MLSCN.
PMCID: PMC2989597  PMID: 19807664
13.  Structure-Mechanism Insights and the Role of Nitric Oxide Donation Guide the Development of Oxadiazole-2-Oxides as Therapeutic Agents against Schistosomiasis 
Journal of medicinal chemistry  2009;52(20):6474-6483.
Schistosomiasis is a chronic parasitic disease affecting hundreds of millions of individuals worldwide. Current treatment depends on a single agent, praziquantel, raising concerns of emergence of resistant parasites. Here, we continue our explorations of an oxadiazole-2-oxide class of compounds we recently identified as inhibitors of thioredoxin glutathione reductase (TGR), a selenocysteine-containing flavoenzyme required by the parasite to maintain proper cellular redox balance. Through systematic evaluation of the core molecular structure of this chemotype we define the essential pharmacophore, establish a link between the nitric oxide donation and TGR inhibition, determine the selectivity for this chemotype versus related reductase enzymes and present evidence that these agents can be modified to possess appropriate drug metabolism and pharmacokinetic properties. The mechanistic link between exogenous NO donation and parasite injury is expanded and better defined. The results of these studies verify the utility of oxadiazole-2-oxides as novel inhibitors of TGR and as efficacious anti-schistosomal reagents.
PMCID: PMC2772170  PMID: 19761212
15.  Identification of potent Yes1 kinase inhibitors using a library screening approach 
Yes1 kinase has been implicated as a potential therapeutic target in a number of cancers including melanomas, breast cancers, and rhabdomyosarcomas. Described here is the development of a robust and miniaturized biochemical assay for Yes1 kinase that was applied in a high throughput screen (HTS) of kinase-focused small molecule libraries. The HTS provided 144 (17% hit rate) small molecule compounds with IC50 values in the sub-micromolar range. Three of the most potent Yes1 inhibitors were then examined in a cell-based assay for inhibition of cell survival in rhabdomyosarcoma cell lines. Homology models of Yes1 were generated in active and inactive conformations, and docking of inhibitors supports binding to the active conformation (DFG-in) of Yes1. This is the first report of a large high throughput enzymatic activity screen for identification of Yes1 kinase inhibitors, thereby elucidating the polypharmacology of a variety of small molecules and clinical candidates.
PMCID: PMC3769177  PMID: 23787099
Yes1; kinase; screening; HTS; small molecule; inhibitor; rhabdomyosarcoma
16.  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.
PMCID: PMC2660606  PMID: 19053756
Janus Kinase 3; CP-690,550; Kinase inhibition; Chiral drugs
17.  Identification of a Potent New Chemotype for the Selective Inhibition of PDE4 
A series of substituted 3,6-diphenyl-7H-[1,2,4]triazolo[3,4-b][1,3,4]thiadiazines were prepared and analyzed as inhibitors of phosphodiesterase 4 (PDE4). Synthesis, structure activity relationships and the selectivity of a highly potent analogue against related phosphodiesterase isoforms are presented.
PMCID: PMC2268978  PMID: 18243697
18.  Drug repurposing screen identifies lestaurtinib amplifies the ability of the poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase 1 inhibitor AG14361 to kill breast cancer associated gene-1 mutant and wild type breast cancer cells 
Breast cancer is a devastating disease that results in approximately 40,000 deaths each year in the USA. Current drug screening and chemopreventatitive methods are suboptimal, due in part to the poor specificity of compounds for cancer cells. Poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase 1 (PARP1) inhibitor (PARPi)-mediated therapy is a promising approach for familial breast cancers caused by mutations of breast cancer-associated gene-1 and -2 (BRCA1/2), yet drug resistance frequently occurs during the treatment. Moreover, PARPis exhibit very little effect on cancers that are proficient for DNA repair and clinical efficacy for PARPis as single-agent therapies has yet to be illustrated.
Using a quantitative high-throughput screening approach, we screened a library containing 2,816 drugs, most of which are approved for human or animal use by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or other countries, to identify compounds that sensitize breast cancer cells to PARPi. After initial screening, we performed further cellular and molecular analysis on lestaurtinib, which is an orally bioavailable multikinase inhibitor and has been used in clinical trials for myeloproliferative disorders and acute myelogenous leukemia.
Our study indicated that lestaurtinib is highly potent against breast cancers as a mono-treatment agent. It also strongly enhanced the activity of the potent PARPi AG14361 on breast cancer cell growth both in vitro and in vivo conditions. The inhibition of cancer growth is measured by increased apoptosis and reduced cell proliferation. Consistent with this, the treatment results in activation of caspase 3/7, and accumulation of cells in the G2 phase of the cell cycle, irrespective of their BRCA1 status. Finally, we demonstrated that AG14361 inhibits NF-κB signaling, which is further enhanced by lestaurtinib treatment.
Lestaurtinib amplifies the ability of the PARP1 inhibitor AG14361 to kill BRCA1 mutant and wild-type breast cancer cells, at least in part, by inhibiting NF-κB signaling. Each of these drugs has been approved for clinical trials for several different cancers, thus, their combination treatment should be applicable for a breast cancer trial in the future.
PMCID: PMC4229979  PMID: 24962108
19.  Synthesis of Substituted 2-phenylhistamines via a Microwave Promoted Suzuki Coupling 
Tetrahedron letters  2007;48(52):9140-9143.
Substitutions on the 2-position of the imidizole ring of histamine have proven useful in a number of biochemical settings. Current art for the synthesis of these constructs relies upon a cumbersome and low-yielding condensation reaction. Here-in we report a new procedure for the synthesis of a series of substituted 2-phenylhistamines utilizing a microwave-promoted Suzuki coupling.
PMCID: PMC2184612  PMID: 19112479
heteroaromatic Suzuki coupling; microwave promoted Suzuki coupling; 2-phenylhistamine
20.  Small-molecule pyrimidine inhibitors of the cdc2-like (Clk) and dual specificity tyrosine phosphorylation-regulated (Dyrk) kinases: Development of chemical probe ML315 
Substituted pyrimidine inhibitors of the Clk and Dyrk kinases have been developed, exploring structure-activity relationships around four different chemotypes. The most potent compounds have low-nanomolar inhibitory activity against Clk1, Clk2, Clk4, Dyrk1A and Dyrk1B. Kinome scans with 442 kinases using agents representing three of the chemotypes show these inhibitors to be highly selective for the Clk and Dyrk families. Further off-target pharmacological evaluation with ML315, the most selective agent, supports this conclusion.
PMCID: PMC3664191  PMID: 23642479
Clk; Dyrk; Kinase inhibitor; Splicing; Pyrimidine
21.  N4-Phenyl Modifications of N2-(2-hydroxyl)ethyl-6-(pyrrolidin-1-yl)-1,3,5-triazine-2,4-diamines Enhance Glucocerebrosidase Inhibition by Small Molecules with Potential as Chemical Chaperones for Gaucher Disease 
A series of 1,3,5-triazine-2,4,6-triamines were prepared and analyzed as inhibitors of glucocerebrosidase. Synthesis, structure activity relationships and the selectivity of chosen analogues against related sugar hydrolases enzymes are described.
PMCID: PMC2083578  PMID: 17827006
22.  CD28 and ITK signals regulate autoreactive T cell trafficking 
Nature medicine  2013;19(12):1632-1637.
Activation of self-reactive T cells and their trafficking to target tissues leads to autoimmune organ destruction. Mice lacking the coinhibitory receptor CTLA-4 develop fatal autoimmunity characterized by massive lymphocytic invasion into non-lymphoid tissues. Here we demonstrate that the CD28 costimulatory pathway regulates the trafficking of self-reactive Ctla4−/− T cells to tissues. Co-ablation of the CD28-activated Tec family kinase ITK does not block spontaneous T cell activation, but instead causes self-reactive Ctla4−/− T cells to accumulate in secondary lymphoid organs. Despite a fulminant autoimmune process in the lymphoid compartment, Itk−/−Ctla4−/− mice are otherwise healthy and exhibit a long lifespan. We propose that ITK licenses autoreactive T cells to enter tissues to mount destructive immune responses. Importantly, ITK inhibitors mimic the null mutant phenotype and also prevent pancreatic islet infiltration by diabetogenic T cells in mouse models of Type I diabetes, highlighting their potential utility for the treatment of human autoimmune disorders.
PMCID: PMC4005518  PMID: 24270545
23.  Synthesis and biological evaluation of analogues of the kinase inhibitor nilotinib as Abl and Kit inhibitors 
The importance of the trifluoromethyl group in the polypharmacological profile of nilotinib was investigated. Molecular editing of nilotinib led to the design, synthesis and biological evaluation of analogues where the trifluoromethyl group was replaced by a proton, fluorine and a methyl group. While these analogues were less active than nilotinib toward Abl, their activity toward Kit was comparable, with the monofluorinated analogue being the most active. Docking of nilotinib and of analogues 2a–c to the binding pocket of Abl and of Kit showed that the lack of shape complementarity in Kit is compensated by the stabilizing effect from its juxtamembrane region.
PMCID: PMC3547291  PMID: 23273517
CML; Kit; Abl; kinase; molecular editing
24.  A furoxan–amodiaquine hybrid as a potential therapeutic for three parasitic diseases† 
MedChemComm  2012;3(12):1505-1511.
Parasitic diseases continue to have a devastating impact on human populations worldwide. Lack of effective treatments, the high cost of existing ones, and frequent emergence of resistance to these agents provide a strong argument for the development of novel therapies. Here we report the results of a hybrid approach designed to obtain a dual acting molecule that would demonstrate activity against a variety of parasitic targets. The antimalarial drug amodiaquine has been covalently joined with a nitric oxide-releasing furoxan to achieve multiple mechanisms of action. Using in vitro and ex vivo assays, the hybrid molecule shows activity against three parasites – Plasmodium falciparum, Schistosoma mansoni, and Ancylostoma ceylanicum.
PMCID: PMC3509744  PMID: 23205265
25.  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.
PMCID: PMC3711671  PMID: 22922757

Results 1-25 (60)