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1.  Optimization of 4-(N-Cycloamino)phenylquinazolines as a Novel Class of Tubulin-Polymerization Inhibitors Targeting the Colchicine Site 
Journal of Medicinal Chemistry  2014;57(4):1390-1402.
The 6-methoxy-1,2,3,4-tetrahydroquinoline moiety in prior leads 2-chloro- and 2-methyl-4-(6-methoxy-3,4-dihydroquinolin-1(2H)-yl)quinazoline (1a and 1b) was modified to produce 4-(N-cycloamino)quinazolines (4a–c and 5a–m). The new compounds were evaluated in cytotoxicity and tubulin inhibition assays, resulting in the discovery of new tubulin-polymerization inhibitors. 7-Methoxy-4-(2-methylquinazolin-4-yl)-3,4-dihydroquinoxalin- 2(1H)-one (5f), the most potent compound, exhibited high in vitro cytotoxic activity (GI50 1.9–3.2 nM), significant potency against tubulin assembly (IC50 0.77 μM), and substantial inhibition of colchicine binding (99% at 5 μM). In mechanism studies, 5f caused cell arrest in G2/M phase, disrupted microtubule formation, and competed mostly at the colchicine site on tubulin. Compound 5f and N-methylated analogue 5g were evaluated in nude mouse MCF7 xenograft models to validate their antitumor activity. Compound 5g displayed significant in vivo activity (tumor inhibitory rate 51%) at a dose of 4 mg/kg without obvious toxicity, whereas 5f unexpectedly resulted in toxicity and death at the same dose.
PMCID: PMC3983391  PMID: 24502232
2.  The Antitumor Agent PBT-1 Directly Targets HSP90 and hnRNP A2/B1 and Inhibits Lung Adenocarcinoma Growth and Metastasis 
Journal of Medicinal Chemistry  2014;57(3):677-685.
Natural products are the major sources of currently available anticancer drugs. We recently reported that phenanthrene-based tylophorine derivative-1 (PBT-1) may be a potential antitumor agent for lung adenocarcinoma. We therefore examined the direct targets of PBT-1 and their effects in inhibiting lung adenocarcinoma. We found that PBT-1 reduced the level of Slug and inhibits the migration, invasion, and filopodia formation of lung adenocarcinoma CL1-5 cells in vitro. In addition, PBT-1 displayed in vivo antitumor and antimetastasis activities against subcutaneous and orthotopic xenografts of CL1-5 cells in nude mice. Chemical proteomics showed that heat shock protein 90 (HSP90) and heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoproteins A2/B1 (hnRNP A2/B1) bound PBT-1 in CL1-5 cells. Inhibition of HSP90 and hnRNP A2/B1 reduced the activation of AKT and Slug expression. Taken together, these findings suggest that PBT-1 binds to HSP90 and/or hnRNP A2/B1 and initiates antitumor activities by affecting Slug- and AKT-mediated metastasis and tumorigenesis.
PMCID: PMC3983378  PMID: 24428777
3.  Dual-functional abeo-Taxane Derivatives Destabilizing Microtubule Equilibrium and Inhibiting NF-κB Activation 
Journal of medicinal chemistry  2013;56(11):4749-4757.
Taxchinin A, with a 11(15→1)-abeo-taxane skeleton, is a major, but inactive taxoid contained in leaves of Taxus chinensis. In our design of dual-functional antitumor abeo-taxane derivatives, two fragments from antitumor agents with different molecular targets (the N-acyl-3′-phenylisoserine side chain from the antimitotic agent paclitaxel and an α,β-unsaturated carbonyl system from NF-κB inhibitors) were incorporated into the scaffold of taxchinin A. The resulting compounds displayed broad inhibitory effects against proliferation of tumor cell lines, with notable selectivity towards colon cancer, melanoma and renal cancer, when evaluated in the NCI-60 human tumor cell line screening panel. Based on the NCI-60 assay data, structure-activity relationship (SAR) correlations were elucidated. Mechanistic studies indicated that this new compound type can both destabilize microtubules and inhibit NF-κB activation, thereby inducing tumor cell apoptosis. This first report of the dual-functional taxoid-core compounds thus provides new opportunities for future drug development based on natural taxoid scaffolds.
PMCID: PMC3755589  PMID: 23725535
4.  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.
PMCID: PMC3600082  PMID: 23379607
Betulinic acid; Bevirimat; HIV-1; Maturation inhibitors; Bevirimat-resistance
5.  Anti-AIDS Agents 90. Novel C-28 Modified Bevirimat Analogs as Potent HIV Maturation Inhibitors 
Journal of medicinal chemistry  2012;55(18):8128-8136.
In a continuing study of bevirimat (2), the anti-HIV-maturation clinical trials agent, 28 new betulinic acid (BA, 1) derivatives were designed and synthesized. Among these compounds, 17, with a C-28 MEM ester moiety, and 22, with a C-28 ethyl hexanoate, increased the anti-HIV replication activity compared with 2 by two-fold, while compounds 40–41 and 48–49, with C-28 piperazine or piperidine amide substitutions, increased the activity by three- to fifteen-fold. The best new compound 41 exhibited an anti-HIV IC50 value of 0.0059 μM, compared with 0.087 μM for 2. All of the active compounds showed only anti-maturation effects, as confirmed by TZM-bl assay, in blocking the HIV replication. The results suggest that proper C-28 substitutions can further enhance the anti-maturation activity of 2, without any anti-entry effects. Thus, 41 may serve as a promising new lead for development of anti-AIDS clinical trial candidates.
PMCID: PMC3478670  PMID: 22978745
6.  Design, Synthesis, and Preclinical Evaluations of Novel 4-Substituted 1,5-Diarylanilines as Potent HIV-1 Non-Nucleoside Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitor (NNRTI) Drug Candidates 
Journal of medicinal chemistry  2012;55(16):7219-7229.
Twenty-one new 4-substituted diarylaniline compounds (DAANs) (Scheme 2, series 13, 14, and 15) were designed, synthesized, and evaluated against wild-type and drug resistant HIV-1 viral strains. As a result, approximately a dozen new DAANs showed high potency with low nano- to sub-nanomolar EC50 values ranging from 0.2 to 10 nM. The three most promising compounds 14e, 14h, and 15h exhibited high potency against wild-type and drug-resistant viral strains with EC50 values at the sub-nanomolar level (0.29–0.87 nM), and were comparable to or more potent than the new NNRTI drug riplivirine (2) in the same assays. Drug-like physicochemical property assessments revealed that the most active DAANs (EC50 <10 nM) have better aqueous solubility (>1–90 μg/mL at pH 7.4 and pH 2) and metabolic stability in vitro than 2, as well as desirable log P values (<5) and polar surface area (PSA) (<140 Å2). These promising results warrant further development of this novel compound class as potential potent anti-AIDS clinical trial candidates.
PMCID: PMC3462592  PMID: 22856541
7.  Antitumor Agents 295. E-ring Hydroxylated Antofine and Cryptopleurine Analogs as Antiproliferative Agents: Design, Synthesis, and Mechanistic Studies 
Journal of medicinal chemistry  2012;55(15):6751-6761.
Various E-ring hydroxylated antofine and cryptopleurine analogs were designed, synthesized, and tested against five human cancer cell lines. Interesting structure-activity relationship (SAR) correlations were found among these new compounds. The most potent compound 13b was further tested against a series of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cell lines, in which it showed impressive antiproliferative activity. Mechanistic studies revealed that 13b is able to down-regulate HSP90 and β-catenin in A549 lung adenocarcinoma cells in a dose-dependent manner, suggesting a potential use for treating Hedgehog pathway-driven tumorigenesis.
PMCID: PMC3422873  PMID: 22823514
8.  Antitumor Agents 293. Non-toxic Dimethyl-4,4′-dimethoxy-5,6,5′,6′-dimethylenedioxybiphenyl-2,2′-dicarboxylate (DDB) Analogs Chemosensitize Multidrug Resistant Cancer Cells to Clinical Anticancer Drugs 
Journal of Medicinal Chemistry  2012;55(11):5413-5424.
Novel dimethyl-4,4′-dimethoxy-5,6,5′,6′-dimethylenedioxybiphenyl-2,2′-dicarboxylate (DDB) analogs were designed and synthesized to improve their chemosensitizing action on KBvin (vincristine resistant nasopharyngeal carcinoma) cells, a multi-drug resistant cell line over-expressing P-glycoprotein (P-gp). Structure-activity relationship analysis showed that aromatic and bulky aliphatic side chains at the 2,2′-positions effectively and significantly sensitized P-gp overexpressing multidrug resistant (MDR) cells to anticancer drugs, such as paclitaxel (TAX), vincristine (VCR), and doxorubicin (DOX). DDB derivatives 16 and 23 showed 5–10 times more effective reversal ability than verapamil (VRP) for TAX and VCR. Analog 6 also exhibited five times greater chemosensitizing effect against DOX than VRP. Importantly, no cytotoxicity was observed by the active DDB analogs against both non-MDR and MDR cells, suggesting that DDB analogs serve as the novel lead compounds for the development of chemosensitizers to overcome MDR phenotype. The mechanism of action studies demonstrated that effective inhibition of P-glycoprotein by DDB analogs dramatically elevated cellular concentration of anticancer drugs.
PMCID: PMC3375343  PMID: 22612652
9.  Design, Synthesis, and Evaluation of Diarylpyridines and Diarylanilines as Potent Non-nucleoside HIV-1 Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors 
Journal of medicinal chemistry  2010;53(23):8287-8297.
Based on the structures and activities of our previously identified non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIs), we designed and synthesized two sets of derivatives, diarylpyridines (A) and diarylanilines (B), and tested their anti-HIV-1 activity against infection by HIV-1 NL4-3 and IIIB in TZM-bl and MT-2 cells, respectively. The results showed that most compounds exhibited potent anti-HIV-1 activity with low nanomolar EC50 values, and some of them, such as 13m, 14c, and 14e, displayed high potency with subnanomolar EC50 values, which were more potent than etravirine (TMC125, 1) in the same assays. Notably, these compounds were also highly effective against infection by multi-RTI-resistant strains, suggesting a high potential to further develop these compounds as a novel class of NNRTIs with improved antiviral efficacy and resistance profile.
PMCID: PMC3050082  PMID: 21049929
10.  Antitumor Agents 284. New Desmosdumotin B Analogues with Bicyclic B-ring as Cytotoxic and Antitubulin Agents 
Journal of medicinal chemistry  2011;54(5):1244-1255.
We previously reported that the biological activity of analogues of desmosdumotin B (1) was dramatically changed depending on the B-ring system. A naphthalene B-ring analogue 3 exerted potent in vitro activity against a diverse panel of human tumor cell lines with GI50 values of 0.8–2.1 μM. In contrast, 1-analogues with a phenyl B-ring showed unique selective activity against P-glycoprotein (P-gp) overexpressing multidrug resistance cell line. We have now prepared and evaluated 1-analogues with bicyclic or tricyclic aromatic B-ring systems as in vitro inhibitors of human cancer cell line proliferation. Among all synthesized derivatives, 21 with a benzo[b]thiophenyl B-ring was highly active, with GI50 values of 0.06–0.16 μM, and this activity was not influenced by overexpression of P-gp. Furthermore, 21 inhibited tubulin assembly in vitro with an IC 50 value of 2.0 μM and colchicine binding by 78% as well as cellular microtubule polymerization and spindle formation.
PMCID: PMC3048907  PMID: 21284385
11.  Antitumor Agents 286. Design, Synthesis and Structure-Activity Relationships of 3′R,4′R-Disubstituted-2′,2′-dimethyldihydropyrano[2,3-f]chromone (DSP) Analogs as Potent Chemosensitizers to Overcome Multidrug Resistance 
Journal of medicinal chemistry  2010;53(24):8700-8708.
In this study, various 3′R,4′R-disubstituted-2′,2′-dimethydihydropyrano[2,3-f]chromone (DSP) derivatives were discovered as potent chemosensitizers in the treatment of multidrug resistant cancer cells. Twenty-four DSP analogs (5–28) were synthesized and evaluated against a multi-drug resistant (MDR) cell line (KB-Vin) with and without vincristine (VCR). All DSP analogs exhibited low intrinsic cytotoxicity. However, in combination treatment, most DSPs reversed resistance to VCR and lowered the GI50 value of VCR by 12–349-fold. At a concentration of 1μg/mL, three compounds, 11, 14 and 21, fully reversed resistance to VCR in KB-Vin cancer cells, a twofold increase compared to verapamil, a first generation chemosensitizer. Detailed structure-activity relationship (SAR) conclusions were established based on 3′ and 4′ substitutions. Moreover, a preliminary mechanism study indicated that the chemosensitizing activity of DSP analogs results from inhibition of P-glycoprotein (P-gp) over-expressed in MDR cancer cells.1
PMCID: PMC3074582  PMID: 21082774
12.  Antitumor Agents 280. Multidrug Resistance-Selective Desmosdumotin B Analogues 
Journal of medicinal chemistry  2010;53(18):6699-6705.
6,6,8-Triethyldesmosdumotin B (2) was discovered as a MDR–selective flavonoid with significant in vitro anticancer activity against a multi-drug resistant (MDR) cell line (KB-VIN) but without activity against the parent cells (KB). Additional 2-analogues were synthesized and evaluated to determine the effect of B-ring modifications on MDR-selectivity. Analogues with a B-ring Me (3) or Et (4) group had substantially increased MDR–selectivity. Three new disubstituted analogues, 35, 37 and 49, also had high collateral sensitivity (CS) indices of 273, 250 and 100, respectively. Furthermore, 2–4 also displayed MDR-selectivity in an MDR hepatoma-cell system. While 2–4 showed either no or very weak inhibition of cellular P-glycoprotein (P-gp) activity, they either activated or inhibited the actions of the first generation P-gp inhibitors verapamil or cyclosporin, respectively.
PMCID: PMC2945214  PMID: 20735140
13.  Diarylaniline Derivatives as a Distinct Class of HIV-1 Non-nucleoside Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors 
Journal of medicinal chemistry  2010;53(13):4906-4916.
By using structure-based drug design and isosteric replacement, diarylaniline and 1,5-diarylbenzene-1,2-diamine derivatives were synthesized and evaluated against wild type HIV-1 and drug-resistant viral strains, resulting in the discovery of diarylaniline derivatives as a distinct class of next-generation HIV-1 non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI) agents. The most promising compound 37 showed significant EC50 values of 0.003-0.032 μM against HIV-1 wild-type strains and of 0.005-0.604 μM against several drug-resistant strains. Current results also revealed important structure-activity relationship (SAR) conclusions for diarylanilines and strongly support our hypothesis that an NH2 group on the central benzene ring ortho to the aniline moiety is crucial for interaction with K101 of the NNRTI binding site in HIV-1 RT, likely by forming H-bonds with K101. Furthermore, molecular modeling studies with molecular mechanism/general born surface area (MM/GBSA) technology demonstrated the rationality of our hypothesis.
PMCID: PMC2904523  PMID: 20527972
14.  Anti-AIDS Agents 81.† Design, Synthesis and Structure-Activity Relationship Study of Betulinic Acid and Moronic Acid Derivatives as Potent HIV Maturation Inhibitors 
Journal of medicinal chemistry  2010;53(8):3133-3141.
In our continuing study of triterpene derivatives as potent anti-HIV agents, different C-3 conformationally restricted betulinic acid (BA, 1) derivatives were designed and synthesized in order to explore the conformational space of the C-3 pharmacophore. 3-O-Monomethylsuccinyl- betulinic acid (MSB) analogs were also designed to better understand the contribution of the C-3′ dimethyl group of bevirimat (2), the first-in-class HIV maturation inhibitor, which is currently in phase IIb clinical trials. In addition, another triterpene skeleton, moronic acid (MA, 3) was also employed to study the influence of the backbone and the C-3 modification towards the anti-HIV activity of this compound class. This study enabled us to better understand the structure-activity relationships (SAR) of triterpene-derived anti-HIV agents, and led to the design and synthesis of compound 12 (EC50: 0.0006 μM), which displayed slightly better activity than 2 as a HIV-1 maturation inhibitor.
PMCID: PMC2860721  PMID: 20329730
15.  Antitumor Agents. 272. Structure–Activity Relationships and In Vivo Selective Anti-Breast Cancer Activity of Novel Neo-tanshinlactone Analogs 
Journal of medicinal chemistry  2010;53(5):2299-2308.
Neo-tanshinlactone (1) and its previously reported analogs, such as 2, are potent and selective in vitro anti-breast cancer agents. The synthetic pathway to 2 was optimized from seven to five steps, with a better overall yield. Structure–activity relationships studies on these compounds revealed some key molecular determinants for this family of anti-breast agents. Several derivatives (19-21 and 24) exerted potent and selective anti-breast cancer activity with IC50 values of 0.3, 0.2, 0.1 and 0.1 μg/mL, respectively, against the ZR-75-1 cell lines. Compound 24 was two- to three-fold more potent than 1 against SK-BR-3 and ZR-75-1. Importantly, 21 exhibited high selectivity; it was 23 times more active against ZR-75-1 than MCF-7. Compound 20 had an approximately 12-fold ratio of SK-BR-3/MCF-7 selectivity. In addition, analog 2 showed potent activity against a ZR-75-1 xenograft model, but not PC-3 and MDA-MB-231 xenografts, as well as high selectivity against breast cancer cell line compared with normal breast tissue-derived cell lines. Further development of lead compounds 19-21 and 24 as clinical trial candidates is warranted.
PMCID: PMC2849726  PMID: 20148565
16.  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.
PMCID: PMC2788670  PMID: 19526990
Betulinic acid; HIV-2; HIV-1
17.  Design and Synthesis of 2-(3-Benzo[b]thienyl)-6,7-methylenedioxyquinolin-4-one Analogs as Potent Antitumor Agents that Inhibit Tubulin Assembly 
Journal of medicinal chemistry  2009;52(15):4883-4891.
As part of our continuing investigation of azo-flavonoid derivatives as potential anticancer drug candidates, a series of 2-aryl-6,7-methylenedioxyquinolin-4-one analogs was designed and synthesized. The design combined structural features of 2-(2-fluorophenyl)-6,7-methylenedioxyquinolin-4-one (CHM-1), a previously discovered compound with potent in vivo antitumor activity, and 2-arylquinolin-4-ones identified by CoMFA models. The newly synthesized analogs were evaluated for cytotoxicity against seven human cancer cell lines, and structure-activity relationship (SAR) correlations were established. Analogs 1, 37, and 39 showed potent cytotoxicity against different cancer cell lines. Compound 1 demonstrated selective cytotoxicity against Hep 3B (hepatoma) cells. Compound 37 was cytotoxic against HL-60 (leukemia), HCT-116 (colon cancer), Hep 3B (hepatoma), and SK-MEL-5 (melanoma) cells. Compound 39 exhibited broad cytotoxicity against all seven cancer cell lines, with IC50 values between 0.07–0.19 µM. Results from mechanism of action studies revealed that these new quinolone derivatives function as antitubulin agents.
PMCID: PMC2761767  PMID: 19719238
2-Arylquinolin-4-ones; CHM-1; Cytotoxicity; Tubulin inhibitor
18.  Antitumor Agents 268. Design, Synthesis, and Mechanistic Studies of New 9-Substituted Phenanthrene-based Tylophorine Analogs as Potent Cytotoxic Agents 
Journal of medicinal chemistry  2009;52(16):5262-5268.
Nineteen new phenanthrene-based tylophorine analogs with various functional groups on the piperidine moiety were designed, synthesized and evaluated for in vitro anticancer activity against four human tumor cell lines. Analogs 15 and 21 showed approximately two-fold enhanced inhibitory activity as compared with our prior lead compound (PBT-1). Analogs 23 and 24 with S- and R-configured substituents, respectively, at the piperidine 3’-position exhibited comparable cytotoxicity to that of PBT-1. Furthermore, mechanistic studies to investigate the effects of the new compounds on Akt protein in lung cancer cells and the NF-kB signaling pathway suggested that the compounds may exert their inhibitory activity on tumor cells through inhibition of activation of both Akt and NF-kB signaling pathway.
PMCID: PMC2888945  PMID: 19645447
19.  Antitumor Agents 266*. Design, Synthesis, and Biological Evaluation of Novel 2-(Furan-2-yl) naphthalen-1-ol Derivatives as Potent and Selective Anti-Breast Cancer Agents 
Journal of medicinal chemistry  2009;52(11):3586-3590.
In a continuing study, we explored how the individual rings in neo-tanshinlactone (1) influence its potent and selective in vitro anti-breast cancer activity. Accordingly, we discovered a novel class of anti-breast cancer agents, 2-(furan-2-yl) naphthalen-1-ol derivatives, based on an active C-ring opened model compound 5. Further optimization led to 18 and 21, which showed decreased cytotoxic potency, but better selectivity than neo-tanshinlactone analog 2. Interestingly, compound 20 showed broad cytotoxicity against human cancer cell lines.
PMCID: PMC2754228  PMID: 19425534
20.  Anti-AIDS Agents 78 †. Design, Synthesis, Metabolic Stability Assessment, and Antiviral Evaluation of Novel Betulinic Acid Derivatives as Potent Anti-Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) Agents 
Journal of medicinal chemistry  2009;52(10):3248-3258.
In a continuing study of potent anti-HIV agents, seventeen 28,30-disubstituted betulinic acid (BA, 1) derivatives, as well as seven novel 3,28-disubstituted BA analogs were designed, synthesized, and evaluated for in vitro antiviral activity. Among them, compound 21 showed an improved solubility and equal anti-HIV potency (EC50: 0.09 μM), when compared to HIV entry inhibitors 3b (IC9564) and 4 (A43-D). Using a cyclic secondary amine to form the C-28 amide bond increased the metabolic stability of the derivatives significantly in pooled human liver microsomes. The most potent compounds 47 and 48 displayed potent anti-HIV activity with EC50 values of 0.007 μM and 0.006 μM, respectively. These results are slightly better than that of bevirimat (2), which is currently in Phase IIb clinical trials. Compounds 47 and 48 should serve as attractive promising leads to develop next generation, metabolically stable, 3,28-disubstituted bifunctional HIV-1 inhibitors as clinical trials candidates.
PMCID: PMC2736638  PMID: 19388685
21.  Phenanthrene-based tylophorine-1 (PBT-1) inhibits lung cancer cell growth through the Akt and NF-κB pathways 
Journal of medicinal chemistry  2009;52(7):1903-1911.
Tylophorine and related natural compounds exhibit potent antitumor activities. We previously showed that PBT-1, a synthetic C9-substituted phenanthrene-based tylophorine (PBT) derivative, significantly inhibits growth of various cancer cells. In this study, we further explored the mechanisms and potential of PBT-1 as an anticancer agent. PBT-1 dose-dependently suppressed colony formation, induced cell cycle G2/M arrest and apoptosis. DNA microarray and pathway analysis showed that PBT-1 activated the apoptosis pathway and mitogen-activated protein kinase signaling. In contrast, PBT-1 suppressed the nuclear factor kappaB (NF-κB) pathway and focal adhesion. We further confirmed that PBT-1 suppressed Akt activation accelerated RelA degradation via IκB kinase-α, and downregulated NF-κB target gene expression. The reciprocal recruitment of RelA and RelB on COX-2 promoter region led to downregulation of transcriptional activity. We conclude that PBT-1 induces cell cycle G2/M arrest and apoptosis by inactivating Akt and by inhibiting the NF-κB signaling pathway. PBT-1 may be a good drug candidate for anticancer chemotherapy.
PMCID: PMC2670969  PMID: 19284764
Phenanthrene-based tylophorine derivatives; apoptosis; cell cycle arrest; NF-κB; lung cancer
22.  Development and Preclinical Studies of Broad-spectrum Anti-HIV Agent (3′R,4′R)-3-Cyanomethyl-4-methyl-3′,4′-di-O-(S)-camphanoyl-(+)-cis-khellactone (3-Cyanomethyl-4-methyl-DCK) 
Journal of medicinal chemistry  2008;51(24):7689-7696.
In prior investigation, we discovered that (3'R,4'R)-3-cyanomethyl-4-methyl-3',4'-di-O-(S)-camphanoyl-(+)-cis-khellactone (4, 3-cyanomethyl-4-methyl-DCK) showed promising anti-HIV activity. In these current studies, we developed and optimized successfully a practical ten-step synthesis for scale-up preparation to increase the overall yield of 4 from 7.8% to 32%. Furthermore, compound 4 exhibited broad-spectrum anti-HIV activity against wild-type and drug-resistant viral infection of CD4+ T cell lines as well as peripheral blood mononuclear cells by both laboratory-adapted and primary HIV-1 isolates with distinct subtypes and tropisms. Compound 4 was further subjected to in vitro and in vivo pharmacokinetic studies. These studies indicated that 4 has moderate cell permeability, moderate oral bioavailability and low systemic clearance. These results suggest that 4 should be developed as a promising anti-HIV agent for development as a clinical trial candidate.
PMCID: PMC2662438  PMID: 19053755
23.  Antitumor Agents 250.† Design and Synthesis of New Curcumin Analogs as Potential Anti-Prostate Cancer Agents 
Journal of medicinal chemistry  2006;49(13):3963-3972.
In a continuing study of curcumin analogs as potential drug candidates to treat prostate cancer at both androgen-dependent and androgen-refractory stages, we designed and synthesized over 40 new analogs classified into four series: monophenyl analogs (series A), heterocycle-containing analogs (series B), analogs bearing various substituents on the phenyl rings (series C) and analogs with various linkers (series D). These new compounds were tested for cytotoxicity against two human prostate cancer cell lines, androgen-dependent LNCaP and androgen-independent PC-3. Antiandrogenic activity was also evaluated in LNCaP cells and PC-3 cells transfected with wild-type androgen receptor. Ten compounds possessed potent cytotoxicity against both LNCaP and PC-3 cells; seven only against LNCaP; and one solely against PC-3. This study established an advanced structure-activity relationship (SAR), and these correlations will guide the further design of new curcumin analogs with better anti-prostate cancer activity.
PMCID: PMC2597393  PMID: 16789753
24.  First Total Synthesis of Protoapigenone and its Analogs as Potent Cytotoxic Agents 
Journal of medicinal chemistry  2007;50(16):3921-3927.
Protoapigenone (1), isolated from Thelypteris torresiana, previously showed significant cytotoxic activity against five human cancer cell lines. In a continued structure-activity relationship study, the first total synthesis and modification of 1 were achieved. All synthesized compounds and related intermediates were evaluated for cytotoxic activity against five human cancer cell lines, HepG2, Hep3B, MDA-MB-231, MCF-7 and A549. Among them, 24 showed 2.2-14.2 fold greater cytotoxicity than 1 and naphthyl A-ring analogs remarkably enhanced the activity.
PMCID: PMC2587018  PMID: 17622129
25.  Antitumor Agents 259. Design, Syntheses and Structure-Activity-Relationship Study of Desmosdumotin C Analogs 
Journal of medicinal chemistry  2007;50(14):3354-3358.
Desmosdumotin C (1) and its analogs previously showed potent, selective in vitro anticancer activity. To explore structure-activity-relationships of 1 and further increase potency and selectivity, fifteen novel analogs (7–15 and 21–26) were synthesized, and evaluated for cytotoxity against several human tumor cell lines, as well as inhibition of human endothelial (HUVEC) replication. 4-Bromo-3′,3′,5′-tripropyl analog 26 showed significant cytotoxity against A549, A431, 1A9, and HCT-8 with ED50 values of 1.0, 1.2, 0.9, and 1.3 μg/mL respectively. Compound 26 also strongly inhibited the growth of matched tumor cells, KB-VIN and its parent cell KB. Furthermore, analogs 13 and 21 were over fivefold more potent against KB-VIN than KB. Bromination of ring-B and tripropyl functionalization of ring-A enhanced activity, while alkylation of ring-B promoted KB-VIN/KB selectivity. 2-Furyl analog 16 showed selective activity against HUVEC, suggesting that it may have potential as a new prototype for angiogenesis inhibition.
PMCID: PMC2526252  PMID: 17569518

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