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1.  Development of Selective Inhibitors for Aldehyde Dehydrogenases based on Substituted Indole-2,3-diones 
Journal of medicinal chemistry  2014;57(3):714-722.
Aldehyde dehydrogenases (ALDH) participate in multiple metabolic pathways and have been indicated to play a role in several cancerous disease states. Our laboratory is interested in developing novel and selective ALDH inhibitors. We looked to further work recently published by developing a class of isoenzyme selective inhibitors using a similar indole-2,3-diones that exhibit differential inhibition of ALDH1A1, ALDH2 and ALDH3A1. Kinetic and X-ray crystallography data suggest these inhibitors are competitive against aldehyde binding, forming direct interactions with active site cysteine residues. The selectivity is precise in that these compounds appear to interact directly with the catalytic nucleophile, Cys243, in ALDH3A1, but not in ALDH2. In ALDH2, the 3-keto group is surrounded by the adjacent Cys301/303. Surprisingly, the orientation of the interaction changes depending on the nature of the substitutions on the basic indole ring structure and correlates well with the observed structure-activity relationships for each ALDH isoenzyme.
doi:10.1021/jm401377v
PMCID: PMC3954746  PMID: 24444054
2.  Development of Selective Inhibitors for Aldehyde Dehydrogenases Based on Substituted Indole-2,3-diones 
Journal of Medicinal Chemistry  2014;57(3):714-722.
Aldehyde dehydrogenases (ALDH) participate in multiple metabolic pathways and have been indicated to play a role in several cancerous disease states. Our laboratory is interested in developing novel and selective ALDH inhibitors. We looked to further work recently published by developing a class of isoenzyme-selective inhibitors using similar indole-2,3-diones that exhibit differential inhibition of ALDH1A1, ALDH2, and ALDH3A1. Kinetic and X-ray crystallography data suggest that these inhibitors are competitive against aldehyde binding, forming direct interactions with active-site cysteine residues. The selectivity is precise in that these compounds appear to interact directly with the catalytic nucleophile, Cys243, in ALDH3A1 but not in ALDH2. In ALDH2, the 3-keto group is surrounded by the adjacent Cys301/303. Surprisingly, the orientation of the interaction changes depending on the nature of the substitutions on the basic indole ring structure and correlates well with the observed structure–activity relationships for each ALDH isoenzyme.
doi:10.1021/jm401377v
PMCID: PMC3954746  PMID: 24444054
3.  Alda-1 is an agonist and chemical chaperone for the common human aldehyde dehydrogenase 2 variant 
In approximately one billion people, a point mutation inactivates a key detoxifying enzyme, aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH2). This mitochondrial enzyme metabolizes toxic biogenic and environmental aldehydes, including the endogenously produced 4-hydroxynonenal (4HNE) and the environmental pollutant, acrolein. ALDH2 also bioactivates nitroglycerin, but it is best known for its role in ethanol metabolism. The accumulation of acetaldehyde following the consumption of even a single alcoholic beverage leads to the Asian Alcohol-induced Flushing Syndrome in ALDH2*2 homozygotes. The ALDH2*2 allele is semi-dominant and heterozygotic individuals exhibit a similar, but not as severe phenotype. We recently identified a small molecule, Alda-1, which activates wild-type ALDH2 and restores near wild-type activity to ALDH2*2. The structures of Alda-1 bound to ALDH2 and ALDH2*2 reveal how Alda-1 activates the wild-type enzyme and how it restores the activity of ALDH2*2 by acting as a structural chaperone.
doi:10.1038/nsmb.1737
PMCID: PMC2857674  PMID: 20062057
4.  An Activator of Mutant and Wildtype Aldehyde Dehydrogenase Reduces Ischemic Damage to the Heart 
Science (New York, N.Y.)  2008;321(5895):1493-1495.
There is substantial interest in the development of drugs that limit the extent of ischemia-induced cardiac damage caused by myocardial infarction or by certain surgical procedures. Here an unbiased proteomic search identified mitochondrial aldehyde dehydrogenase 2 (ALDH2) as an enzyme whose activation correlates with reduced ischemic heart damage in rodent models. A high-throughput screen yielded a small-molecule activator of ALDH2 (Alda-1) that, when administered to rats prior to an ischemic event, reduced infarct size by 60%, most likely through its inhibitory effect on the formation of cytotoxic aldehydes. In vitro, Alda-1 was a particularly effective activator of ALDH2*2, an inactive mutant form of the enzyme that is found in 40% of East Asian populations. Thus, pharmacologic enhancement of ALDH2 activity may be useful for patients with wildtype or mutant ALDH2 subjected to cardiac ischemia, such as during coronary bypass surgery. (140/140 words)
doi:10.1126/science.1158554
PMCID: PMC2741612  PMID: 18787169

Results 1-4 (4)