Search tips
Search criteria

Results 1-25 (42)

Clipboard (0)

Select a Filter Below

Year of Publication
Document Types
1.  Synthesis and evaluation of methylsulfonylnitrobenzamides (MSNBAs) as inhibitors of the thyroid hormone receptor-coactivator interaction 
We previously identified the methylsulfonylnitrobenzoates (MSNBs) that block the interaction of the thyroid hormone receptor with its obligate transcriptional coactivators and prevent thyroid hormone signaling. As part of our lead optimization work we demonstrated that sulfonylnitrophenylthiazoles (SNPTs), which replace the ester linkage of MSNBs with a thiazole, also inhibited coactivator binding to TR. Here we report that replacement of the ester with an amide (methylsulfonylnitrobenzamides, MSNBA) also provides active TR antagonists.
PMCID: PMC3594046  PMID: 23414840
2.  The Discovery of Novel Antimalarial Compounds Enabled by QSAR-based Virtual Screening 
Quantitative structure–activity relationship (QSAR) models have been developed for a dataset of 3133 compounds defined as either active or inactive against P. falciparum. Since the dataset was strongly biased towards inactive compounds, different sampling approaches were employed to balance the ratio of actives vs. inactives, and models were rigorously validated using both internal and external validation approaches. The balanced accuracy for assessing the antimalarial activities of 70 external compounds was between 87% and 100% depending on the approach used to balance the dataset. Virtual screening of the ChemBridge database using QSAR models identified 176 putative antimalarial compounds that were submitted for experimental validation, along with 42 putative inactives as negative controls. Twenty five (14.2%) computational hits were found to have antimalarial activities with minimal cytotoxicity to mammalian cells, while all 42 putative inactives were confirmed experimentally. Structural inspection of confirmed active hits revealed novel chemical scaffolds, which could be employed as starting points to discover novel antimalarial agents.
PMCID: PMC3644566  PMID: 23252936
Antimalarial activity; quantitative structure–activity relationships; virtual screening; experimental confirmation
3.  Synthesis and evaluation of 7-substituted 4-aminoquinoline analogs for antimalarial activity 
Journal of medicinal chemistry  2011;54(20):7084-7093.
We previously reported that substituted 4-aminoquinolines with a phenylether substituent at the 7-position of the quinoline ring and the capability of intramolecular hydrogen bonding between the protonated amine on the side chain and a hydrogen bond acceptor on the amine’s alkyl substituents exhibited potent antimalarial activity against the multi-drug resistant strain P. falciparum W2. We employed a parallel synthetic method to generate diaryl ether, biaryl, and alkylaryl 4-aminoquinoline analogs, in the background of a limited number of side chain variations that had previously afforded potent 4-aminoquinolines. All subsets were evaluated for their antimalarial activity against the chloroquine-sensitive strain 3D7 and the chloroquine-resistant K1 and cytotoxicity mammalian cell lines. While all three arrays showed good antimalarial activity, only the biaryl-containing subset showed consistently good potency against the drug-resistant K1strain good selectivity with regard to mammalian cytotoxicity. Overall, our data indicate that the biaryl-containing series contains promising candidates for further study.
PMCID: PMC3697074  PMID: 21910466
4.  Synthesis and evaluation of sulfonylnitrophenylthiazoles (SNPT's) as thyroid hormone receptor-coactivator interaction inhibitors 
Journal of Medicinal Chemistry  2012;55(5):2301-2310.
We previously identified a series of methylsulfonylnitrobenzoates (MSNB's) that block the interaction of the thyroid hormone receptor with its coactivators. MSNB's inhibits coactivator binding through irreversibly modifying cysteine 298 of thyroid hormone receptor (TR). Although MSNB's have better pharmacological features than our first generation inhibitors (β-aminoketones) they contain a potentially unstable ester linkage. Here we report the bioisosteric replacement of the ester linkage with a thiazole moiety, yielding sulfonylnitrophenylthiazoles (SNPT's). An array of SNPT's representing optimal side chains from the MSNB series was constructed using parallel chemistry and evaluated to test their antagonism of the TR-coactivator interaction. Selected active compounds were evaluated in secondary confirmatory assays including regulation of thyroid response element driven transcription in reporter constructs and native genes. In addition the selected SNPT's shown to be selective for TR relative to other nuclear hormone receptor (NR).
PMCID: PMC3308170  PMID: 22324546
5.  Optimization of a Non-Radioactive High-Throughput Assay for Decarboxylase Enzymes 
Herein, we describe the optimization of a linked enzyme assay suitable for high-throughput screening of decarboxylases, a target family whose activity has historically been difficult to quantify. Our approach uses a commercially available bicarbonate detection reagent to measure decarboxylase activity. The assay is performed in a fully enclosed automated screening system under inert nitrogen atmosphere to minimize perturbation by exogenous CO2. Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis following a pilot screen of a small library of ∼3,600 unique molecules for inhibitors of Trypanosoma brucei ornithine decarboxylase quantitatively demonstrates that the assay has excellent discriminatory power (area under the curve = 0.90 with 95% confidence interval between 0.82 and 0.97).
PMCID: PMC3098607  PMID: 20085486
6.  Chemical genetics of Plasmodium falciparum 
Nature  2010;465(7296):311-315.
Malaria caused by Plasmodium falciparum is a catastrophic disease worldwide (880,000 deaths yearly). Vaccine development has proved difficult and resistance has emerged for most antimalarials. In order to discover new antimalarial chemotypes, we have employed a phenotypic forward chemical genetic approach to assay 309,474 chemicals. Here we disclose structures and biological activity of the entire library, many of which exhibited potent in vitro activity against drug resistant strains, and detailed profiling of 172 representative candidates. A reverse chemical genetic study identified 19 new inhibitors of 4 validated drug targets and 15 novel binders among 61 malarial proteins. Phylochemogenetic profiling in multiple organisms revealed similarities between Toxoplasma gondii and mammalian cell lines and dissimilarities between P. falciparum and related protozoans. One exemplar compound displayed efficacy in a murine model. Overall, our findings provide the scientific community with new starting points for malaria drug discovery.
PMCID: PMC2874979  PMID: 20485428
7.  Improvement of Pharmacological Properties of Irreversible Thyroid Receptor Coactivator Binding Inhibitors 
Journal of medicinal chemistry  2009;52(13):3892-3901.
We have previously reported the discovery and preliminary structure activity relationships of a series of β-aminoketones that disrupt the binding of coactivators to TR. However, the most active compounds had moderate inhibitory potency and relatively high cytotoxicity, resulting in narrow therapeutic index. Additionally, preliminary evaluation of in vivo toxicology revealed a significant dose related cardiotoxicity. Here we describe the improvement of pharmacological properties of thyroid hormone receptor coactivator binding inhibitors. A comprehensive survey of the effects of substitutents in key areas of the molecule was carried out, based on mechanistic insight from the earlier report. This study revealed that both electron withdrawing and hydrophobic substituents on the aromatic ring led to higher potency. On the other hand, moving from an alkyl to a sulfonyl alkyl side chain led to reduced cytotoxicity. Finally, utilization of amine moieties having low pKa’s resulted in lowered ion channel activity without any loss of pharmacological activity.
PMCID: PMC2753520  PMID: 19469546
8.  Treatment of Murine Cerebral Malaria by Artemisone in Combination with Conventional Antimalarial Drugs: Antiplasmodial Effects and Immune Responses 
The decreasing effectiveness of antimalarial therapy due to drug resistance necessitates constant efforts to develop new drugs. Artemisinin derivatives are the most recent drugs that have been introduced and are considered the first line of treatment, but there are already indications of Plasmodium falciparum resistance to artemisinins. Consequently, drug combinations are recommended for prevention of the induction of resistance. The research here demonstrates the effects of novel combinations of the new artemisinin derivative, artemisone, a recently described 10-alkylamino artemisinin derivative with improved antimalarial activity and reduced neurotoxicity. We here investigate its ability to kill P. falciparum in a high-throughput in vitro assay and to protect mice against lethal cerebral malaria caused by Plasmodium berghei ANKA when used alone or in combination with established antimalarial drugs. Artemisone effects against P. falciparum in vitro were synergistic with halofantrine and mefloquine, and additive with 25 other drugs, including chloroquine and doxycycline. The concentrations of artemisone combinations that were toxic against THP-1 cells in vitro were much higher than their effective antimalarial concentration. Artemisone, mefloquine, chloroquine, or piperaquine given individually mostly protected mice against cerebral malaria caused by P. berghei ANKA but did not prevent parasite recrudescence. Combinations of artemisone with any of the other three drugs did completely cure most mice of malaria. The combination of artemisone and chloroquine decreased the ratio of proinflammatory (gamma interferon, tumor necrosis factor) to anti-inflammatory (interleukin 10 [IL-10], IL-4) cytokines in the plasma of P. berghei-infected mice. Thus, artemisone in combinations with other antimalarial drugs might have a dual action, both killing parasites and limiting the potentially deleterious host inflammatory response.
PMCID: PMC4135990  PMID: 24913162
9.  A screening based approach to circumvent tumor microenvironment-driven intrinsic resistance to BCR-ABL+ inhibitors in Ph+ acute lymphoblastic leukemia 
Journal of biomolecular screening  2013;19(1):158-167.
Signaling by the BCR-ABL fusion kinase drives Philadelphia chromosome-positive acute lymphoblastic leukemia (Ph+ ALL) and chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML). Despite their clinical activity in many patients with CML, the BCR-ABL kinase inhibitors (BCR-ABL-KIs) imatinib, dasatinib, and nilotinib provide only transient leukemia reduction in patients in Ph+ ALL. While host-derived growth factors present in the leukemia microenvironment have been invoked to explain this drug resistance, their relative contribution remains uncertain. Using genetically-defined murine Ph+ ALL cells, we identified Interleukin 7 (IL-7) as the dominant host-factor that attenuates response to BCR-ABL-KIs. To identify potential combination drugs that could overcome this IL-7-dependent BCR-ABL-KI-resistant phenotype, we screened a small molecule library including FDA-approved drugs. Among the validated hits, the well-tolerated anti-malarial drug dihydroartemisinin (DHA) displayed potent activity in vitro and modest in vivo monotherapy activity against engineered murine BCR-ABL-KI–resistant Ph+ ALL. Strikingly, co-treatment with DHA and dasatinib in vivo strongly reduced primary leukemia burden and improved long-term survival in a murine model that faithfully captures the BCR-ABL-KI-resistant phenotype of human Ph+ ALL. This co-treatment protocol durably cured 90% of treated animals, suggesting that this cell-based screening approach efficiently identified drugs that could be rapidly moved to human clinical testing
PMCID: PMC3963394  PMID: 23989453
10.  Quinolone-3-Diarylethers: A new class of drugs for a new era of malaria eradication 
Science translational medicine  2013;5(177):177ra37.
Ideally antimalarial drugs can be developed which target multiple life cycle stages, thus impacting prevention, treatment and transmission of disease. Here we introduce 4-(1H)-quinolone-3-diarylethers that are selectively potent inhibitors of the parasite’s mitochondrial cytochrome bc1 complex. These compounds are highly active against the primary human malarias (falciparum and vivax), targeting the parasite at both the liver and blood stages as well as the forms that are crucial to disease transmission: gametocytes ⇒ zygotes ⇒ ookinetes ⇒ oocysts. Chosen as the preclinical candidate, ELQ-300 has good oral bioavailability at efficacious dosages in mice, is metabolically stable, and is highly active in rodent malaria models. Given a low predicted dose in patients and a long predicted half-life, ELQ-300 offers the hope of a new molecule for the treatment, prevention and, ultimately, eradication of malaria.
PMCID: PMC4227885  PMID: 23515079
11.  Dihydroquinazolinone Inhibitors of Proliferation of Blood and Liver Stage Malaria Parasites 
Drugs that target both the liver and blood stages of malaria will be needed to reduce the disease's substantial worldwide morbidity and mortality. Evaluation of a 259-member library of compounds that block proliferation of the blood stage of malaria revealed several scaffolds—dihydroquinazolinones, phenyldiazenylpyridines, piperazinyl methyl quinolones, and bis-benzimidazoles—with promising activity against the liver stage. Focused structure-activity studies on the dihydroquinazolinone scaffold revealed several molecules with excellent potency against both blood and liver stages. One promising early lead with dual activity is 2-(p-bromophenyl)-3-(2-(diethylamino)ethyl)-2,3-dihydroquinazolin-4(1H)-one with 50% effective concentrations (EC50s) of 0.46 μM and 0.34 μM against liver stage Plasmodium berghei ANKA and blood stage Plasmodium falciparum 3D7 parasites, respectively. Structure-activity relationships revealed that liver stage activity for this compound class requires a 3-dialkyl amino ethyl group and is abolished by substitution at the ortho-position of the phenyl moiety. These compounds have minimal toxicity to mammalian cells and are thus attractive compounds for further development.
PMCID: PMC3957893  PMID: 24366746
12.  Pharmacokinetics and Efficacy of the Spleen Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitor R406 after Ocular Delivery for Retinoblastoma 
Pharmaceutical Research  2014;31(11):3060-3072.
Retinoblastoma is a childhood cancer of the retina. Clinical trials have shown that local delivery of broad spectrum chemotherapeutic agents is efficacious. Recent studies characterizing the genomic and epigenomic landscape of retinoblastoma identified spleen tyrosine kinase (SYK) as a promising candidate for targeted therapy. The purpose of this study was to conduct preclinical testing of the SYK antagonist R406 to evaluate it as a candidate for retinoblastoma treatment.
The efficacy of the SYK antagonist R406 delivered locally in a human orthotopic xenograft mouse model of retinoblastoma was tested. Intraocular exposure of R406 was determined for various routes and formulations.
There was no evidence of efficacy for subconjunctival. R406. Maximal vitreal concentration was 10-fold lower than the minimal concentration required to kill retinoblastoma cells in vitro. Dosage of R406 subconjunctivally from emulsion or suspension formulations, direct intravitreal injection of the soluble prodrug of R406 (R788), and repeated topical administration of R406 all increased vitreal exposure, but failed to reach the exposure required for retinoblastoma cell death in culture.
Taken together, these data suggest that R406 is not a viable clinical candidate for the treatment of retinoblastoma. This study highlights the importance of pharmacokinetic testing of molecular targeted retinoblastoma therapeutics.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s11095-014-1399-y) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4213378  PMID: 24906597
Ocular drug delivery; R406; Retinoblastoma; Spleen tyrosine kinase
13.  Repositioning: the fast track to new anti-malarial medicines? 
Malaria Journal  2014;13:143.
Repositioning of existing drugs has been suggested as a fast track for developing new anti-malarial agents. The compound libraries of GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), Pfizer and AstraZeneca (AZ) comprising drugs that have undergone clinical studies in other therapeutic areas, but not achieved approval, and a set of US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved drugs and other bio-actives were tested against Plasmodium falciparum blood stages.
Molecules were tested initially against erythrocytic co-cultures of P. falciparum to measure proliferation inhibition using one of the following methods: SYBR®I dye DNA staining assay (3D7, K1 or NF54 strains); [3H] hypoxanthine radioisotope incorporation assay (3D7 and 3D7A strain); or 4’,6-diamidino-2-phenylindole (DAPI) DNA imaging assay (3D7 and Dd2 strains). After review of the available clinical pharmacokinetic and safety data, selected compounds with low μM activity and a suitable clinical profile were tested in vivo either in a Plasmodium berghei four-day test or in the P. falciparum Pf3D70087/N9 huSCID ‘humanized’ mouse model.
Of the compounds included in the GSK and Pfizer sets, 3.8% (9/238) had relevant in vitro anti-malarial activity while 6/100 compounds from the AZ candidate drug library were active. In comparison, around 0.6% (24/3,800) of the FDA-approved drugs and other bio-actives were active. After evaluation of available clinical data, four investigational drugs, active in vitro were tested in the P. falciparum humanized mouse model: UK-112,214 (PAF-H1 inhibitor), CEP-701 (protein kinase inhibitor), CEP-1347 (protein kinase inhibitor), and PSC-833 (p-glycoprotein inhibitor). Only UK-112,214 showed significant efficacy against P. falciparum in vivo, although at high doses (ED90 131.3 mg/kg [95% CI 112.3, 156.7]), and parasitaemia was still present 96 hours after treatment commencement. Of the six actives from the AZ library, two compounds (AZ-1 and AZ-3) were marginally efficacious in vivo in a P. berghei model.
Repositioning of existing therapeutics in malaria is an attractive proposal. Compounds active in vitro at μM concentrations were identified. However, therapeutic concentrations may not be effectively achieved in mice or humans because of poor bio-availability and/or safety concerns. Stringent safety requirements for anti-malarial drugs, given their widespread use in children, make this a challenging area in which to reposition therapy.
PMCID: PMC4021201  PMID: 24731288
Malaria; Anti-malarial drugs; Drug repositioning; in vitro; in vivo; Plasmodium falciparum; Plasmodium berghei; Candidate drug re-profiling
14.  Anticancer Properties of Distinct Antimalarial Drug Classes 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(12):e82962.
We have tested five distinct classes of established and experimental antimalarial drugs for their anticancer potential, using a panel of 91 human cancer lines. Three classes of drugs: artemisinins, synthetic peroxides and DHFR (dihydrofolate reductase) inhibitors effected potent inhibition of proliferation with IC50s in the nM- low µM range, whereas a DHODH (dihydroorotate dehydrogenase) and a putative kinase inhibitor displayed no activity. Furthermore, significant synergies were identified with erlotinib, imatinib, cisplatin, dasatinib and vincristine. Cluster analysis of the antimalarials based on their differential inhibition of the various cancer lines clearly segregated the synthetic peroxides OZ277 and OZ439 from the artemisinin cluster that included artesunate, dihydroartemisinin and artemisone, and from the DHFR inhibitors pyrimethamine and P218 (a parasite DHFR inhibitor), emphasizing their shared mode of action. In order to further understand the basis of the selectivity of these compounds against different cancers, microarray-based gene expression data for 85 of the used cell lines were generated. For each compound, distinct sets of genes were identified whose expression significantly correlated with compound sensitivity. Several of the antimalarials tested in this study have well-established and excellent safety profiles with a plasma exposure, when conservatively used in malaria, that is well above the IC50s that we identified in this study. Given their unique mode of action and potential for unique synergies with established anticancer drugs, our results provide a strong basis to further explore the potential application of these compounds in cancer in pre-clinical or and clinical settings.
PMCID: PMC3877007  PMID: 24391728
15.  Targeting the Binding Function 3 (BF3) Site of the Human Androgen Receptor Through Virtual Screening 
Journal of medicinal chemistry  2011;54(24):8563-8573.
The androgen receptor (AR) is the best studied drug target for the treatment of prostate cancer. While there are a number of drugs that target the AR, they all work through the same mechanism of action and are prone to the development of drug resistance. There is a large unmet need for novel AR inhibitors which work through alternative mechanism(s). Recent studies have identified a novel site on the AR called Binding Function 3 (BF3) that is involved into AR transcriptional activity. In order to identify inhibitors that target the BF3 site, we have conducted a large-scale in-silico screen followed by experimental evaluation. A number of compounds were identified that effectively inhibited the AR transcriptional activity with no obvious cytotoxicity. The mechanism of action of these compounds was validated by biochemical assays and x-ray crystallography. These findings lay a foundation for the development of alternative or supplementary therapies capable of combating prostate cancer even in its anti-androgen resistant forms.
PMCID: PMC3668559  PMID: 22047606
anti-androgens; androgen receptor; virtual screening; prostate cancer; drug resistance; protein-protein interactions; protein-protein interactions; co-regulation
16.  Discovery of the First Irreversible Small Molecule Inhibitors of the Interaction between the Vitamin D Receptor and Coactivators 
Journal of Medicinal Chemistry  2012;55(10):4640-4651.
The vitamin D receptor (VDR) is a nuclear hormone receptor that regulates cell proliferation, cell differentiation, and calcium homeostasis. The receptor is activated by vitamin D analogs that induce the disruption of VDR-corepressor binding and promote VDR-coactivator interactions. The interactions between VDR and coregulators are essential for VDR-mediated transcription. Small molecule inhibition of VDR–coregulator binding represents an alternative method to the traditional ligand-based approach in order to modulate the expression of VDR target genes. A high throughput fluorescence polarization screen that quantifies the inhibition of binding between VDR and a fluorescently labeled steroid receptor coactivator 2 peptide was applied to discover the new small molecule VDR–coactivator inhibitors, 3-indolyl-methanamines. Structure-activity relationship studies with 3-indolyl-methanamine analogs were used to determine their mode of VDR-binding and to produce the first VDR-selective and irreversible VDR–coactivator inhibitors with the ability to regulate the transcription of the human VDR target gene, TRPV6.
PMCID: PMC3364162  PMID: 22563729
Vitamin D receptor; steroid receptor coactivator; fluorescence polarization; high throughput screening; 3-indolyl-methanamines; TRPV6
17.  Global Phenotypic Screening for Antimalarials 
Chemistry & biology  2012;19(1):116-129.
Malaria, a devastating infectious disease caused by Plasmodium spp., leads to roughly 655,000 deaths per year, mostly of African children. To compound the problem, drug resistance has emerged to all classical antimalarials and may be emerging for artemisinin-based combination therapies. To address the need for new antimalarials with novel mechanisms, several groups carried out phenotypic screening campaigns to identify compounds inhibiting growth of the blood stages of Plasmodium falciparum. In this review, we describe the characterization of these compounds, explore currently ongoing strategies to develop lead molecules, and endorse the concept of a “malaria box” of publicly accessible active compounds.
PMCID: PMC3269778  PMID: 22284359
18.  Optimization of Propafenone Analogues as Anti-Malarial Leads 
Journal of medicinal chemistry  2011;54(21):7477-7485.
Propafenone, a class Ic antiarrythmic drug, inhibits growth of cultured Plasmodium falciparum. While the drug’s potency is significant, further development of propafenone as an antimalarial would require divorcing the antimalarial and cardiac activities as well as improving the pharmacokinetic profile of the drug. A small array of propafenone analogs was designed and synthesized to address the cardiac ion channel and PK liabilities. Testing of this array revealed potent inhibitors of the 3D7 (drug sensitive) and K1 (drug resistant) strains of P. falciparum that possessed significantly reduced ion channel effects and improved metabolic stability. Propafenone analogues are unusual among antimalarial leads in that they are more potent against the multi-drug resistant K1 strain of P. falciparum compared to the 3D7 strain.
PMCID: PMC3208124  PMID: 21955244
propafenone; malaria; microwave epoxide ring opening; hERG
ACS chemical biology  2011;6(10):1096-1106.
Thyroid hormone (T3) mediates diverse physiological functions including growth, differentiation, and energy homeostasis through the thyroid hormone receptors (TR). The TR bind DNA at specific recognition sequences in the promoter regions of their target genes known as the thyroid hormone response elements (TREs). Gene expression at TREs regulated by TRs is mediated by coregulator recruitment to the DNA bound receptor. This TR-coregulator interaction controls transcription of target genes by multiple mechanisms including covalent histone modifications and chromatin remodeling. Our previous studies identified a β-aminoketone as a potent inhibitor of the TR-coactivator interaction. We describe here the activity of one of these inhibitors in modulating effects of T3 signaling in comparison to an established ligand-competitive inhibitor of TR, NH-3. The β-aminoketone was found to reverse thyroid hormone induced gene expression by inhibiting coactivator recruitment at target gene promoters, thereby regulating downstream effects of thyroid hormone. While mimicking the downstream effects of a ligand competitive inhibitor at the molecular level, the β-aminoketone affects only a subset of the thyroid responsive signaling network. Thus antagonists directed to the coregulator binding site have distinct pharmacological properties relative to ligand based antagonists and may provide complementary activity in vivo.
PMCID: PMC3199310  PMID: 21815645
20.  MDM2 Antagonist Nutlin-3a Reverses Mitoxantrone Resistance by Inhibiting Breast Cancer Resistance Protein Mediated Drug Transport 
Biochemical pharmacology  2011;82(1):24-34.
Breast cancer resistance protein (BCRP; ABCG2), a clinical marker for identifying the side population (SP) cancer stem cell subgroup, affects intestinal absorption, brain penetration, hepatobiliary excretion, and multidrug resistance of many anti-cancer drugs. Nutlin-3a is currently under pre-clinical investigation in a variety of solid tumor and leukemia models as a p53 reactivation agent, and has been recently demonstrated to also have p53 independent actions in cancer cells. In the present study, we first report that nutlin-3a can inhibit the efflux function of BCRP. We observed that although the nutlin-3a IC50 did not differ between BCRP over-expressing and vector control cells, nutlin-3a treatment significantly potentiated the cells to treatment with the BCRP substrate mitoxantrone. Combination index calculations suggested synergism between nutlin-3a and mitoxantrone in cell lines over-expressing BCRP. Upon further investigation, it was confirmed that nutlin-3a increased the intracellular accumulation of BCRP substrates such as mitoxantrone and Hoechst 33342 in cells expressing functional BCRP without altering the expression level or localization of BCRP. Interestingly, nutlin-3b, considered virtually “inactive” in disrupting the MDM2/p53 interaction, reversed Hoechst 33342 efflux with the same potency as nutlin-3a. Intracellular accumulation and bi-directional transport studies using MDCKII cells suggested that nutlin-3a is not a substrate of BCRP. Additionally, an ATPase assay using Sf9 insect cell membranes over-expressing wild-type BCRP indicated that nutlin-3a inhibits BCRP ATPase activity in a dose-dependent fashion. In conclusion, our studies demonstrate that nutlin-3a inhibits BCRP efflux function, which consequently reverses BCRP-related drug resistance.
PMCID: PMC3108438  PMID: 21459080
Nutlin-3a; Breast cancer resistance protein (BCRP); ABC transporter; Multi- drug resistance
21.  A Quantitative High Throughput Screen Identifies Novel Inhibitors of the Interaction of Thyroid Receptor β with a Peptide of Steroid Receptor Coactivator 2 
Journal of biomolecular screening  2011;16(6):618-627.
The thyroid hormone receptors (TR) are members of the nuclear hormone receptor (NHR) superfamily that regulate development, growth, and metabolism. Upon ligand binding, TR releases bound corepressors and recruits coactivators to modulate target gene expression. Steroid Receptor Coactivator 2 (SRC2) is an important coregulator that interacts with TRβ to activate gene transcription. To identify novel inhibitors of the TRβ and SRC2 interaction, we performed a quantitative high throughput screen (qHTS) of a TRβ-SRC2 fluorescence polarization assay against more than 290,000 small molecules. The qHTS assayed compounds at six concentrations up to 92 uM to generate titration-response curves and determine the potency and efficacy of all compounds. The qHTS dataset enabled the characterization of actives for structure-activity relationships as well as for potential artifacts such as fluorescence interference. Selected qHTS actives were tested in the screening assay using fluoroprobes labeled with Texas Red or fluorescein. The retest identified 19 series and 4 singletons as active in both assays with 40% or greater efficacy, free of compound interference and not toxic to mammalian cells. Selected compounds were tested as independent samples and a methylsulfonylnitrobenzoate series inhibited the TRβ-SRC2 interaction with 5 uM IC50. This series represents a new class of thyroid hormone receptor-coactivator modulators.
PMCID: PMC3162318  PMID: 21482722
thyroid receptor; small molecule; HTS; coactivator; protein-protein interaction
22.  Synthesis of Artemiside and Its Effects in Combination with Conventional Drugs against Severe Murine Malaria 
This research describes the use of novel antimalarial combinations of the new artemisinin derivative artemiside, a 10-alkylamino artemisinin. It is a stable, highly crystalline compound that is economically prepared from dihydroartemisinin in a one-step process. Artemiside activity was more pronounced than that of any antimalarial drug in use, both in Plasmodium falciparum culture and in vivo in a murine malaria model depicting cerebral malaria (CM). In vitro high-throughput testing of artemiside combinations revealed a large number of conventional antimalarial drugs with which it was additive. Following monotherapy in mice, individual drugs reduced parasitemias to nondetectable levels. However, after a period of latency, parasites again were seen and eventually all mice became terminally ill. Treatment with individual drugs did not prevent CM in mice with recrudescent malaria, except for piperaquine at high concentrations. Even when CM was prevented, the mice developed later of severe anemia. In contrast, most of the mice treated with drug combinations survived. A combination of artemiside and mefloquine or piperaquine may confer an optimal result because of the longer half life of both conventional drugs. The use of artemiside combinations revealed a significant safety margin of the effective artemiside doses. Likewise, a combination of 1.3 mg/kg of body weight artemiside and 10 mg/kg piperaquine administered for 3 days from the seventh day postinfection was completely curative. It appears possible to increase drug concentrations in the combination therapy without reaching toxic levels. Using the drug combinations as little as 1 day before the expected death of control animals, we could prevent further parasite development and death due to CM or anemic malaria. Earlier treatment may prevent cognitive dysfunctions which might occur after recovery from CM.
PMCID: PMC3256061  PMID: 22006004
23.  On the Mechanism of Action of SJ-172550 in Inhibiting the Interaction of MDM4 and p53 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(6):e37518.
SJ-172550 (1) was previously discovered in a biochemical high throughput screen for inhibitors of the interaction of MDMX and p53 and characterized as a reversible inhibitor (J. Biol. Chem. 2010; 285∶10786). Further study of the biochemical mode of action of 1 has shown that it acts through a complicated mechanism in which the compound forms a covalent but reversible complex with MDMX and locks MDMX into a conformation that is unable to bind p53. The relative stability of this complex is influenced by many factors including the reducing potential of the media, the presence of aggregates, and other factors that influence the conformational stability of the protein. This complex mechanism of action hinders the further development of compound 1 as a selective MDMX inhibitor.
PMCID: PMC3366986  PMID: 22675482
24.  Evaluation of Diarylureas for Activity Against Plasmodium falciparum 
ACS medicinal chemistry letters  2010;1(9):460-465.
A library of diarylurea IGFR inhibitors was screened for activity against chloroquine-sensitive (3D7) and chloroquine-resistant (K1) strains of Plasmodium falciparum. The 4-aminoquinaldine-derived diarylureas displayed promising antimalarial potency. Further exploration of the B ring of 4-aminoquinaldinyl ureas allowed identification of several quinaldin-4-yl ureas 4{13, 39} and 4{13, 58} sufficiently potent against both 3D7 and K1 strains to qualify as bone fide leads.
PMCID: PMC3019604  PMID: 21243104
Malaria; diarylurea
25.  Evaluation of Diarylureas for Activity Against Plasmodium falciparum 
ACS Medicinal Chemistry Letters  2010;1(9):460-465.
A library of diarylurea insulin-like growth factor 1 receptor inhibitors was screened for activity against chloroquine-sensitive (3D7) and chloroquine-resistant (K1) strains of Plasmodium falciparum. The 4-aminoquinaldine-derived diarylureas displayed promising antimalarial potency. Further exploration of the B ring of 4-aminoquinaldinyl ureas allowed identification of several quinaldin-4-yl ureas 4{13, 39} and 4{13, 58} sufficiently potent against both 3D7 and K1 strains to qualify as bone fide leads.
PMCID: PMC3019604  PMID: 21243104
Malaria; diarylurea

Results 1-25 (42)