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1.  New Betulinic Acid Derivatives for Bevirimat-Resistant Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type-1 
Journal of medicinal chemistry  2013;56(5):2029-2037.
Bevirimat (1, BVM) is an anti-HIV agent that blocks HIV-1 replication by interfering with HIV-1 Gag-SP1 processing at a late stage of viral maturation. However, clinical trials of 1 have revealed a high baseline drug resistance that is attributed to naturally-occurring polymorphisms in HIV-1 Gag. To overcome the drug resistance, 28 new derivatives of 1 were synthesized and tested against compound 1-resistant (BVM-R) HIV-1 variants. Among them, compound 6 exhibited much improved activity against several HIV-1 strains carrying BVM-R polymorphisms. Compound 6 was at least 20-fold more potent than 1 against the replication of NL4-3/V370A, which carries the most prevalent clinical BVM-R polymorphism in HIV-1 Gag-SP1. Thus, compound 6 merits further development as a potential anti-AIDS clinical trial candidate.
doi:10.1021/jm3016969
PMCID: PMC3600082  PMID: 23379607
Betulinic acid; Bevirimat; HIV-1; Maturation inhibitors; Bevirimat-resistance
2.  Synthesis of Betulinic Acid Derivatives as Entry Inhibitors against HIV-1 and Bevirimat-Resistant HIV-1 Variants 
Betulinic acid derivatives modified at the C28 position are HIV-1entry inhibitors such as compound A43D; however, modified at the C3 position instead of C28 give HIV-1 maturation inhibitor such as bevirimat. Bevirimat exhibited promising pharmacokinetic profiles in clinical trials, but its effectiveness was compromised by the high baseline drug resistance of HIV-1 variants with polymorphism in the putative drug binding site. In an effort to determine whether the viruses with bevirimat resistant polymorphism also altered their sensitivities to the betulinic acid derivatives that inhibit HIV-1 entry, a series of new betulinic acid entry inhibitors were synthesized and tested for their activities against HIV-1 NL4-3 and NL4-3 variants resistant to bevirimat. The results show that the bevirimat resistant viruses were approximately 5- to10-fold more sensitive to three new glutamine ester derivatives (13, 15 and 38) and A43D in an HIV-1 multi-cycle replication assay. In contrast, the wild type NL4-3 and the bevirimat resistant variants were equally sensitive to the HIV-1 RT inhibitor AZT. In addition, these three new compounds markedly improved microsomal stability compared to A43D.
doi:10.1016/j.bmcl.2012.06.080
PMCID: PMC3426442  PMID: 22818973
HIV-1; Entry inhibitor; Maturation inhibitor; Betulinic acid; Berivimat; Berivimat-resistance
3.  Anti-AIDS agents 85. Design, synthesis, and evaluation of 1R,2R-dicamphanoyl-3,3-dimethyldihydropyrano-[2,3-c]xanthen-7(1H)-one (DCX) derivatives as novel anti-HIV agents 
In this study, 1R,2R-dicamphanoyl-3,3-dimethydihydropyrano[2,3-c]xanthen-7(1H)-one (DCX) derivatives were designed and synthesized as novel anti-HIV agents against both wild-type and nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase (RT) inhibitor-resistant HIV-1 (RTMDR-1) strains. Twenty-four DCX analogs (6-29) were synthesized and evaluated against the non-drug-resistant HIV-1 NL4-3 strain, and selected analogs were also screened for their ability to inhibit the RTMDR-1 strain. Compared with the control 2-ethyl-3′,4′-di-O-(-)-camphanoyl-2′,2′-dimethyldihydropyrano[2,3-f]chromone (2-EDCP, 2), one of the best anti-HIV coumarin derivatives in our prior study, three DCX compounds (7, 12, and 22) showed better activity against both HIV strains with an EC50 range of 0.062 – 0.081 μM, and five additional compounds (8, 11, 16, 18, and 21) exhibited comparable anti-HIV potency. Six DCX analogs (7, 11-12, 18, and 21-22) also showed enhanced selectivity index (SI) values in comparison to the control. Structure-activity relationship (SAR) information suggested that the extended conjugated system of the pyranoxanthone skeleton facilitates the interaction of the small DCX molecule within the viral binding pocket, consequently leading to enhanced anti-HIV activity and selectivity. Compared to DCP compounds, DCX analogs are a more promising new class of anti-HIV agents.
doi:10.1016/j.ejmech.2011.10.025
PMCID: PMC3259201  PMID: 22063755
1R,2R-dicamphanoyl-3,3-dimethydihydropyrano[2,3-c]xanthen-7(1H)-one (DCX); Anti-HIV activity; Structure-activity relationship (SAR)
4.  Synthesis and proteasome inhibition of lithocholic acid derivatives 
A new class of proteasome inhibitors was synthesized using lithocholic acid as a scaffold. Modification at the C-3 position of lithocholic acid with a series of acid acyl groups yielded compounds with a range of potency on proteasome inhibition. Among them, the phenylene diacetic acid hemiester derivative (13) displayed the most potent proteasome inhibition with IC50 = 1.9 μM. Enzyme kinetic analysis indicates that these lithocholic acid derivatives are non-competitive inhibitors of the proteasome.
doi:10.1016/j.bmcl.2011.02.041
PMCID: PMC3072167  PMID: 21388808
Lithocholic acid; proteasome; proteasome inhibitor
5.  Picomolar Dichotomous Activity of Gnidimacrin Against HIV-1 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(10):e26677.
Highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) has offered a promising approach for controlling HIV-1 replication in infected individuals. However, with HARRT, HIV-1 is suppressed rather than eradicated due to persistence of HIV-1 in latent viral reservoirs. Thus, purging the virus from latent reservoirs is an important strategy toward eradicating HIV-1 infection. In this study, we discovered that the daphnane diterpene gnidimacrin, which was previously reported to have potent anti-cancer cell activity, activated HIV-1 replication and killed persistently-infected cells at picomolar concentrations. In addition to its potential to purge HIV-1 from latently infected cells, gnidimacrin potently inhibited a panel of HIV-1 R5 virus infection of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) at an average concentration lower than 10 pM. In contrast, gnidimacrin only partially inhibited HIV-1 ×4 virus infection of PBMCs. The strong anti-HIV-1 R5 virus activity of gnidimacrin was correlated with its effect on down-regulation of the HIV-1 coreceptor CCR5. The anti-R5 virus activity of gnidimacrin was completely abrogated by a selective protein kinase C beta inhibitor enzastaurin, which suggests that protein kinase C beta plays a key role in the potent anti-HIV-1 activity of gnidimacrin in PBMCs. In summary, these results suggest that gnidimacrin could activate latent HIV-1, specifically kill HIV-1 persistently infected cells, and inhibit R5 viruses at picomolar concentrations.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0026677
PMCID: PMC3200356  PMID: 22039528
6.  Anti-AIDS agents 79. Design, synthesis, molecular modeling and structure-activity relationships of novel dicamphanoyl-2′,2′-dimethyldihydropyranochromone (DCP) analogs as potent anti-HIV agents 
Bioorganic & medicinal chemistry  2010;18(18):6678-6689.
In a continued study, 23 3′R,4′R-di-O-(−)-camphanoyl-2′,2′-dimethyldihydropyrano[2,3-f]chromone (DCP) derivatives (5–27) were synthesized, and screened for anti-HIV activity against both a non-drug-resistant NL4-3 strain and multiple reverse transcriptase (RT) inhibitor-resistant (RTMDR-1) strain, using 2-EDCP (4) and 2-MDCP (35) as controls. New DCP analogs 5, 9, 14, and 22 exhibited potent anti-HIV activity against HIVNL4-3 with EC50 and therapeutic index (TI) values ranging from 0.036 μM to 0.14 μM and from 110 to 420, respectively. Compounds 5 and 9 also exhibited good activity against RTMDR-1 (EC50 0.049 and 0.054 μM; TI 310 and 200, respectively), and were two-fold more potent than the leads 4 and 35 (EC50 0.11 and 0.19 μM; TI 60 and 58, respectively). Evaluation of water solubility showed that 5 and 22 were 5–10 times more water soluble than 4. Quantitative structure-activity relationship (QSAR) modeling results were first performed on this compound type, and the models should aid in design of future anti-HIV DCP analogs and potential clinical drug candidates.
doi:10.1016/j.bmc.2010.07.065
PMCID: PMC2954496  PMID: 20728367
3′R,4′R-Di-O-(−)-camphanoyl-2′,2′-dimethyldihydropyrano[2,3-f]chromone (DCP) derivatives; HIV-1; Reverse transcriptase (RT); Structure-activity relationship (SAR)
7.  Betulinic Acid Derivatives as Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 2 (HIV-2) Inhibitors 
Journal of medicinal chemistry  2009;52(23):7887-7891.
We previously reported that [[N-[3β-hydroxyl-lup-20(29)-en-28-oyl]-7-aminoheptyl]-carbamoyl]methane (A43D, 4) was a potent HIV-1 entry inhibitor. However, 4 was inactive against HIV-2 virus, suggesting the structural requirements for targeting these two retroviruses are different. In this study, a series of new betulinic acid derivatives were synthesized, and some of them displayed selective anti-HIV-2 activity at nanomolar concentrations. In comparison to compounds with anti-HIV-1 activity, a shorter C-28 side chain is required for optimal anti-HIV-2 activity.
doi:10.1021/jm9004253
PMCID: PMC2788670  PMID: 19526990
Betulinic acid; HIV-2; HIV-1
8.  Synthesis and Proteasome Inhibition of Glycyrrhetinic Acid Derivatives 
Bioorganic & medicinal chemistry  2008;16(14):6696-6701.
This study discovered that glycyrrhetinic acid inhibited the human 20S proteasome at 22.3 µM. Esterification of the C-3 hydroxyl group on glycyrrhetinic acid with various carboxylic acid reagents yielded a series of analogs with marked improved potency. Among the derivatives, glycyrrhetinic acid 3-O-isophthalate (17) was the most potent compound with IC50 of 0.22 µM, which was approximately 100-fold more potent than glycyrrhetinic acid.
doi:10.1016/j.bmc.2008.05.078
PMCID: PMC2579312  PMID: 18562200
Glycyrrhetinic acid; proteasome inhibitor; triterpene

Results 1-8 (8)