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1.  Drug Discovery Algorithm for Cutaneous Leishmaniasis 
Cutaneous leishmaniasis is clinically widespread but lacks treatments that are effective and well tolerated. Because all present drugs have been grandfathered into clinical use, there are no examples of a pre-clinical product evaluation scheme that lead to new candidates for formal development. To provide oral agents for development targeting cutaneous leishmaniasis, we have implemented a discovery scheme that incorporates in vitro and in vivo testing of efficacy, toxicity, and pharmacokinetics/metabolism. Particular emphasis is placed on in vivo testing, progression from higher-throughput models to those with most clinical relevance, and efficient use of resources.
doi:10.4269/ajtmh.11-0812
PMCID: PMC3583307  PMID: 23390221
2.  In vitro Cytotoxicity, Pharmacokinetics, Tissue Distribution, and Metabolism of Small-Molecule Protein Kinase D Inhibitors, kb-NB142-70 and kb-NB165-09, in Mice bearing Human Cancer Xenografts 
Purpose
Protein kinase D (PKD) mediates diverse biological responses including cell growth and survival. Therefore, PKD inhibitors may have therapeutic potential. We evaluated the in vitro cytotoxicity of two PKD inhibitors, kb-NB142-70 and its methoxy analog, kb-NB165-09, and examined their in vivo efficacy and pharmacokinetics.
Methods
The in vitro cytotoxicities of kb-NB142-70 and kb-NB165-09 were evaluated by MTT assay against PC-3, androgen independent prostate cancer cells, and CFPAC-1 and PANC-1, pancreatic cancer cells. Efficacy studies were conducted in mice bearing either PC-3 or CPFAC-1 xenografts. Tumor-bearing mice were euthanized between 5 and 1440 min after iv dosing, and plasma and tissue concentrations were measured by HPLC-UV. Metabolites were characterized by LC-MS/MS.
Results
kb-NB142-70 and kb-NB165-09 inhibited cellular growth in the low-mid μM range. The compounds were inactive when administered to tumor-bearing mice. In mice treated with kb-NB142-70, the plasma Cmax was 36.9 nmol/mL and the PC-3 tumor Cmax was 11.8 nmol/g. In mice dosed with kb-NB165-09, the plasma Cmax was 61.9 nmol/mL while the PANC-1 tumor Cmax was 8.0 nmol/g. The plasma half-lives of kb-NB142-70 and kb-NB165-09 were 6 and 14 min, respectively. Both compounds underwent oxidation and glucuronidation.
Conclusions
kb-NB142-70 and kb-NB165-09 were rapidly metabolized, and concentrations in tumor were lower than those required for in vitro cytotoxicity. Replacement of the phenolic hydroxyl group with a methoxy group increased the plasma half-life of kb-NB165-09 2.3-fold over that of kb-NB142-70. Rapid metabolism in mice suggests that next-generation compounds will require further structural modifications to increase potency and/or metabolic stability.
doi:10.1007/s00280-012-2010-z
PMCID: PMC3557573  PMID: 23108699
Protein Kinase D (PKD) inhibitors; pharmacokinetics; prostate cancer; pancreatic cancer; kb-NB142-70; kb-NB165-09
3.  Synthesis and Structure-Activity Relationships of Benzothienothiazepinone Inhibitors of Protein Kinase D 
ACS medicinal chemistry letters  2011;2(2):154-159.
Protein kinase D (PKD) is a member of a novel family of serine/threonine kinases that regulate fundamental cellular processes. PKD is implicated in the pathogenesis of several diseases, including cancer. Progress in understanding the biological functions and therapeutic potential of PKD has been hampered by the lack of specific inhibitors. The benzoxoloazepinolone CID755673 was recently identified as the first potent and selective PKD inhibitor. The study of structure-activity relationships (SAR) of this lead structure led to further improvements in PKD1 potency. We describe herein the synthesis and biological evaluation of novel benzothienothiazepinone analogs. We achieved a ten-fold increase in the in vitro PKD1 inhibitory potency for the second generation lead kb-NB142-70 and accomplished a transition to an almost equally potent novel pyrimidine scaffold, while maintaining excellent target selectivity. These promising results will guide the design of pharmacological tools to dissect PKD function and pave the way for the development of potential anti-cancer agents.
doi:10.1021/ml100230n
PMCID: PMC3100199  PMID: 21617763
Protein kinase D; small molecule inhibitor; benzothienothiazepinone; pyrimidines; CID755673
4.  Synthesis and Structure−Activity Relationships of Benzothienothiazepinone Inhibitors of Protein Kinase D 
ACS Medicinal Chemistry Letters  2010;2(2):154-159.
Protein kinase D (PKD) is a member of a novel family of serine/threonine kinases that regulate fundamental cellular processes. PKD is implicated in the pathogenesis of several diseases, including cancer. Progress in understanding the biological functions and therapeutic potential of PKD has been hampered by the lack of specific inhibitors. The benzoxoloazepinolone CID755673 was recently identified as the first potent and selective PKD inhibitor. The study of structure−activity relationships (SAR) of this lead compound led to further improvements in PKD1 potency. We describe herein the synthesis and biological evaluation of novel benzothienothiazepinone analogues. We achieved a 10-fold increase in the in vitro PKD1 inhibitory potency for the second generation lead kb-NB142-70 and accomplished a transition to an almost equally potent novel pyrimidine scaffold, while maintaining excellent target selectivity. These promising results will guide the design of pharmacological tools to dissect PKD function and pave the way for the development of potential anticancer agents.
doi:10.1021/ml100230n
PMCID: PMC3100199  PMID: 21617763
Protein kinase D; small molecule inhibitor; benzothienothiazepinone; pyrimidines; CID755673
5.  Design, Synthesis, and Biological Evaluation of PKD Inhibitors 
Pharmaceutics  2011;3(2):186-228.
Protein kinase D (PKD) belongs to a family of serine/threonine kinases that play an important role in basic cellular processes and are implicated in the pathogenesis of several diseases. Progress in our understanding of the biological functions of PKD has been limited due to the lack of a PKD-specific inhibitor. The benzoxoloazepinolone CID755673 was recently reported as the first potent and kinase-selective inhibitor for this enzyme. For structure-activity analysis purposes, a series of analogs was prepared and their in vitro inhibitory potency evaluated.
doi:10.3390/pharmaceutics3020186
PMCID: PMC3261798  PMID: 22267986
protein kinase D; small molecule inhibitor; benzothienothiazepinone; pyrimidines; CID755673; thiazepinothiophenopyrimidinone
6.  Protein kinase D as a potential new target for cancer therapy 
Biochimica et biophysica acta  2010;1806(2):183-192.
Protein kinase D is a novel family of serine/threonine kinases and diacylglycerol receptors that belongs to the calcium/calmodulin-dependent kinase superfamily. Evidence has established that specific PKD isoforms are dysregulated in several cancer types, and PKD involvement has been documented in a variety of cellular processes important to cancer development, including cell growth, apoptosis, motility, and angiogenesis. In light of this, there has been a recent surge in the development of novel chemical inhibitors of PKD. This review focuses on the potential of PKD as a chemotherapeutic target in cancer treatment and highlights important recent advances in the development of PKD inhibitors.
doi:10.1016/j.bbcan.2010.05.003
PMCID: PMC2947595  PMID: 20580776
Protein kinase D; cancer; small molecule inhibitors
7.  Discovery of Diverse Small Molecule Chemotypes with Cell-Based PKD1 Inhibitory Activity 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(10):e25134.
Protein kinase D (PKD) is a novel family of serine/threonine kinases regulated by diacylglycerol, which is involved in multiple cellular processes and various pathological conditions. The limited number of cell-active, selective inhibitors has historically restricted biochemical and pharmacological studies of PKD. We now markedly expand the PKD1 inhibitory chemotype inventory with eleven additional novel small molecule PKD1 inhibitors derived from our high throughput screening campaigns. The in vitro IC50s for these eleven compounds ranged in potency from 0.4 to 6.1 µM with all of the evaluated compounds being competitive with ATP. Three of the inhibitors (CID 1893668, (1Z)-1-(3-ethyl-5-methoxy-1,3-benzothiazol-2-ylidene)propan-2-one; CID 2011756, 5-(3-chlorophenyl)-N-[4-(morpholin-4-ylmethyl)phenyl]furan-2-carboxamide; CID 5389142, (6Z)-6-[4-(3-aminopropylamino)-6-methyl-1H-pyrimidin-2-ylidene]cyclohexa-2,4-dien-1-one) inhibited phorbol ester-induced endogenous PKD1 activation in LNCaP prostate cancer cells in a concentration-dependent manner. The specificity of these compounds for PKD1 inhibitory activity was supported by kinase assay counter screens as well as by bioinformatics searches. Moreover, computational analyses of these novel cell-active PKD1 inhibitors indicated that they were structurally distinct from the previously described cell-active PKD1 inhibitors while computational docking of the new cell-active compounds in a highly conserved ATP-binding cleft suggests opportunities for structural modification. In summary, we have discovered novel PKD1 inhibitors with in vitro and cell-based inhibitory activity, thus successfully expanding the structural diversity of small molecule inhibitors available for this important pharmacological target.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0025134
PMCID: PMC3187749  PMID: 21998636
8.  Design, Synthesis, and Biological Evaluation of PKD Inhibitors 
Pharmaceutics  2011;3(2):186-228.
Protein kinase D (PKD) belongs to a family of serine/threonine kinases that play an important role in basic cellular processes and are implicated in the pathogenesis of several diseases. Progress in our understanding of the biological functions of PKD has been limited due to the lack of a PKD-specific inhibitor. The benzoxoloazepinolone CID755673 was recently reported as the first potent and kinase-selective inhibitor for this enzyme. For structure-activity analysis purposes, a series of analogs was prepared and their in vitro inhibitory potency evaluated.
doi:10.3390/pharmaceutics3020186
PMCID: PMC3261798  PMID: 22267986
protein kinase D; small molecule inhibitor; benzothienothiazepinone; pyrimidines; CID755673; thiazepinothiophenopyrimidinone
9.  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.
doi:10.1038/nature09099
PMCID: PMC2874979  PMID: 20485428
10.  Novel protein kinase D inhibitors cause potent arrest in prostate cancer cell growth and motility 
BMC Chemical Biology  2010;10:5.
Background
Protein kinase D (PKD) has been implicated in a wide range of cellular processes and pathological conditions including cancer. However, targeting PKD therapeutically and dissecting PKD-mediated cellular responses remains difficult due to lack of a potent and selective inhibitor. Previously, we identified a novel pan-PKD inhibitor, CID755673, with potency in the upper nanomolar range and high selectivity for PKD. In an effort to further enhance its selectivity and potency for potential in vivo application, small molecule analogs of CID755673 were generated by modifying both the core structure and side-chains.
Results
After initial activity screening, five analogs with equal or greater potencies as CID755673 were chosen for further analysis: kb-NB142-70, kb-NB165-09, kb-NB165-31, kb-NB165-92, and kb-NB184-02. Our data showed that modifications to the aromatic core structure in particular significantly increased potency while retaining high specificity for PKD. When tested in prostate cancer cells, all compounds inhibited PMA-induced autophosphorylation of PKD1, with kb-NB142-70 being most active. Importantly, these analogs caused a dramatic arrest in cell proliferation accompanying elevated cytotoxicity when applied to prostate cancer cells. Cell migration and invasion were also inhibited by these analogs with varying potencies that correlated to their cellular activity.
Conclusions
Throughout the battery of experiments, the compounds kb-NB142-70 and kb-NB165-09 emerged as the most potent and specific analogs in vitro and in cells. These compounds are undergoing further testing for their effectiveness as pharmacological tools for dissecting PKD function and as potential anti-cancer agents in the treatment of prostate cancer.
doi:10.1186/1472-6769-10-5
PMCID: PMC2873968  PMID: 20444281
11.  A Target-Based High Throughput Screen Yields Trypanosoma brucei Hexokinase Small Molecule Inhibitors with Antiparasitic Activity 
Background
The parasitic protozoan Trypanosoma brucei utilizes glycolysis exclusively for ATP production during infection of the mammalian host. The first step in this metabolic pathway is mediated by hexokinase (TbHK), an enzyme essential to the parasite that transfers the γ-phospho of ATP to a hexose. Here we describe the identification and confirmation of novel small molecule inhibitors of bacterially expressed TbHK1, one of two TbHKs expressed by T. brucei, using a high throughput screening assay.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Exploiting optimized high throughput screening assay procedures, we interrogated 220,233 unique compounds and identified 239 active compounds from which ten small molecules were further characterized. Computation chemical cluster analyses indicated that six compounds were structurally related while the remaining four compounds were classified as unrelated or singletons. All ten compounds were ∼20-17,000-fold more potent than lonidamine, a previously identified TbHK1 inhibitor. Seven compounds inhibited T. brucei blood stage form parasite growth (0.03≤EC50<3 µM) with parasite specificity of the compounds being demonstrated using insect stage T. brucei parasites, Leishmania promastigotes, and mammalian cell lines. Analysis of two structurally related compounds, ebselen and SID 17387000, revealed that both were mixed inhibitors of TbHK1 with respect to ATP. Additionally, both compounds inhibited parasite lysate-derived HK activity. None of the compounds displayed structural similarity to known hexokinase inhibitors or human African trypanosomiasis therapeutics.
Conclusions/Significance
The novel chemotypes identified here could represent leads for future therapeutic development against the African trypanosome.
Author Summary
African sleeping sickness is a disease found in sub-Saharan Africa that is caused by the single-celled parasite Trypanosoma brucei. The drugs used widely now to treat infections are 50 years old and notable for their toxicity, emphasizing the need for development of new therapeutics. In the search for potential drug targets, researchers typically focus on enzymes or proteins that are essential to the survival of the infectious agent while being distinct enough from the host to avoid accidental targeting of the host enzyme. This work describes our research on one such trypanosome enzyme, hexokinase, which is a protein that the parasite requires to make energy. Here we describe the results of our search for inhibitors of the parasite enzyme. By screening 220,223 compounds for anti-hexokinase activity, we have identified new inhibitors of the parasite enzyme. Some of these are toxic to trypanosomes while having no effect on mammalian cells, suggesting that they may hold promise for the development of new anti-parasitic compounds.
doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0000659
PMCID: PMC2854128  PMID: 20405000
12.  Identification of Potent Chemotypes Targeting Leishmania major Using a High-Throughput, Low-Stringency, Computationally Enhanced, Small Molecule Screen 
Patients with clinical manifestations of leishmaniasis, including cutaneous leishmaniasis, have limited treatment options, and existing therapies frequently have significant untoward liabilities. Rapid expansion in the diversity of available cutaneous leishmanicidal chemotypes is the initial step in finding alternative efficacious treatments. To this end, we combined a low-stringency Leishmania major promastigote growth inhibition assay with a structural computational filtering algorithm. After a rigorous assay validation process, we interrogated ∼200,000 unique compounds for L. major promastigote growth inhibition. Using iterative computational filtering of the compounds exhibiting >50% inhibition, we identified 553 structural clusters and 640 compound singletons. Secondary confirmation assays yielded 93 compounds with EC50s ≤ 1 µM, with none of the identified chemotypes being structurally similar to known leishmanicidals and most having favorable in silico predicted bioavailability characteristics. The leishmanicidal activity of a representative subset of 15 chemotypes was confirmed in two independent assay formats, and L. major parasite specificity was demonstrated by assaying against a panel of human cell lines. Thirteen chemotypes inhibited the growth of a L. major axenic amastigote-like population. Murine in vivo efficacy studies using one of the new chemotypes document inhibition of footpad lesion development. These results authenticate that low stringency, large-scale compound screening combined with computational structure filtering can rapidly expand the chemotypes targeting in vitro and in vivo Leishmania growth and viability.
Author Summary
Leishmaniasis is a parasitic disease with cutaneous, mucocutaneous and visceral clinical manifestations, depending on the Leishmania spp. and human host. Globally, there are 350 million people at risk of leishmaniasis, but current treatment options rely predominantly on ancient pentavalent antimonials, which have the potential to cause serious systemic toxicity. Our research focuses on the rapid expansion of potential anti-leishmanial compounds that could function as novel chemical structures for future drug development and offer additional therapeutic options to patients with leishmaniasis. We combined high throughput screening methodologies with computational algorithms and multiple confirmatory assay formats to identify and characterize new potent L. major promastigote growth inhibitors, including one that displays in vivo activity without toxicity to human cells. Our use of a large, broadly distributed compound library enabled the identification of these new chemotypes. In addition, since this chemical library is publicly available and annotated, we were able to cross-query archived bioassays and to identify new molecular targets that may be involved in L. major growth and viability as well as identify new protein targets for future leishmanicidal drug discovery.
doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0000540
PMCID: PMC2765639  PMID: 19888337
13.  KINETIC CHARACTERIZATION AND MOLECULAR DOCKING OF A NOVEL, POTENT, AND SELECTIVE SLOW-BINDING INHIBITOR OF HUMAN CATHEPSIN L 
Molecular pharmacology  2008;74(1):34-41.
A novel small molecule thiocarbazate (PubChem SID 26681509), a potent inhibitor of human cathepsin L (EC 3.4.22.15) with an IC50 of 56 nM, was developed following a 57,821 compound screen of the NIH Molecular Libraries Small Molecule Repository. After a 4 hr preincubation with cathepsin L, this compound became even more potent, demonstrating an IC50 of 1.0 nM. The thiocarbazate was determined to be a slow-binding and slowly reversible competitive inhibitor. Through a transient kinetic analysis for single-step reversibility, inhibition rate constants were kon = 24,000 M-1s-1 and koff = 2.2 × 10-5 s-1 (Ki = 0.89 nM). Molecular docking studies were undertaken using the experimentally-derived X-ray crystal structure of papain/CLIK-148 (1cvz.pdb). These studies revealed critical hydrogen bonding patterns of the thiocarbazate with key active site residues in papain. The thiocarbazate displayed 7- to 151-fold greater selectivity toward cathepsin L than papain and cathepsins B, K, V, and S with no activity against cathepsin G. The inhibitor demonstrated a lack of toxicity in human aortic endothelial cells and zebrafish. Additionally, the thiocarbazate inhibited in vitro propagation of malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum with an IC50 of 15.4 μM and inhibited Leishmania major with an IC50 of 12.5 μM.
doi:10.1124/mol.108.046219
PMCID: PMC2575030  PMID: 18403718

Results 1-13 (13)