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1.  Synthesis and preliminary cytotoxicity study of a cephalosporin-CC-1065 analogue prodrug 
Antibody-directed enzyme prodrug therapy (ADEPT) is a promising new approach to deliver anticancer drugs selectively to tumor cells. In this approach, an enzyme is conjugated to a tumor-specific antibody. The antibody selectively localizes the enzyme to the tumor cell surface. Subsequent administration of a prodrug substrate of the enzyme leads to the enzyme-catalyzed release of the free drug at the tumor site. The free drug will destroy the tumor cells selectively, thus, reducing side effects.
A CC-1065 analogue was conjugated to a cephalosporin affording prodrug 2. The prodrug and its corresponding free drug, 1, have IC50 values of 0.9 and 0.09 nM, respectively, against U937 leukemia cells in vitro.
For the first time, a prodrug comprised of a cephalosporin and a CC-1065 analogue has been synthesized. The preliminary in vitro studies show that the prodrug was 10-fold less toxic than the free drug. Prodrug 2 has the potential to be useful in cancer treatment using the ADEPT approach.
PMCID: PMC59845  PMID: 11710971
2.  Di-, tri- and tetra-5'-O-phosphorothioadenosyl substituted polyols as inhibitors of Fhit: Importance of the α-β bridging oxygen and β phosphorus replacement 
The human FHIT gene is inactivated early in the development of many human cancers and loss of Fhit in mouse predisposes to cancer while reintroduction of FHIT suppresses tumor formation via induction of apoptosis. Fhit protein, a diadenosine polyphosphate hydrolase, does not require hydrolase activity to function in tumor suppression and may signal for apoptosis as an enzyme-substrate complex. Thus, high affinity nonhydrolyzable substrate analogs may either promote or antagonize Fhit function, depending on their features, in Fhit + cells. Previously synthesized analogs with phosphorothioadenosyl substitutions and "supercharged" branches do not bind better than natural substrates and thus have limited potential as cellular probes.
Here we link adenosine 5'-O-phosphates and phosphorothioates to short-chain polyols to generate a series of substrate analogs. We obtain structure-activity data in the form of in vitro Fhit inhibition for four types of analog substitutions and describe two compounds, inhibitory constants for which are 65 and 75-fold lower than natural substrates.
The best Fhit inhibitors obtained to date separate two or more 5'-O-phosphoromonothioadenosyl moieties with as many bond lengths as in AppppA, maintain oxygen at the location of the α-β bridging oxygen, and replace carbon for the β phosphorus.
PMCID: PMC59680  PMID: 11701096
3.  Calculated conformer energies for organic molecules with multiple polar functionalities are method dependent: Taxol (case study) 
Molecular mechanics (MM) and quantum chemical (QM) calculations are widely applied and powerful tools for the stereochemical and conformational investigations of molecules. The same methods have been extensively used to probe the conformational profile of Taxol (Figure 1) both in solution and at the β-tubulin protein binding site.
In the present work, the relative energies of seven conformations of Taxol derived from NMR and X-ray analyses were compared with a set of widely used force fields and semiempirical MO methods coupled to a continuum solvent treatment. The procedures not only diverge significantly in their assessment of relative conformational energies, but none of them provide satisfactory agreement with experiment.
For Taxol, molecular mechanics and semiempirical QM methods are unable to provide a consistent energetic ranking of side-chain conformations. For similar highly polar organic structures, "energy-free" conformational search methods are advised.
PMCID: PMC59844  PMID: 11710970
4.  Analysis of fluorescently labeled substance P analogs: binding, imaging and receptor activation 
Substance P (SP) is a peptide neurotransmitter found in central and peripheral nerves. SP is involved in the control of smooth muscle, inflammation and nociception. The amino acid sequence of SP is Arg-Pro-Lys-Pro-Gln-Gln-Phe-Phe-Gly-Leu-Met-NH2. Five different forms of fluorescently labeled SP have recently been synthesized, in which Alexa 488, BODIPY Fl, fluorescein, Oregon Green 488 or tetramethylrhodamine has been covalently linked to SP at Lys3. Here, these novel analogs are characterized as to their ligand binding, receptor activation and fluorescence labeling properties.
Competition binding studies, using radiolabeled [125I] SP, revealed that all of the labeled forms of SP, except for Alexa 488-SP, effectively competed with radiolabeled SP for binding at the rat SP receptor. With the exception of Alexa 488-SP, all of the SP analogs produced Ca++ elevations and fluorescence labeling of the SP receptor expressed in Chinese hamster ovary cells. In SP-responsive neurons, BODIPY Fl-SP and Oregon Green 488-SP were as effective as unlabeled SP in producing a reduction of the M-type K+ current. Fluorescein-SP produced variable results, while tetramethylrhodamine-SP was less potent and Alexa 488-SP was less effective on intact neurons.
The above results show that fluorescent labeling of SP altered the biological activity and the binding properties of the parent peptide. Oregon Green 488 and BODIPY FL-SP are the most useful fluorophores for labeling SP without affecting its biological activity. Given these results, these probes can now be utilized in further investigations of the mechanisms of SPR function, including receptor localization, internalization and recycling.
PMCID: PMC33344  PMID: 11418083

Results 1-4 (4)