Issue 7, 2022

Salicylate metal-binding isosteres as fragments for metalloenzyme inhibition


Metalloenzyme inhibitors typically share a common need to possess a metal-binding pharmacophore (MBP) for binding the active site metal ions. However, MBPs can suffer from physicochemical liabilities, impeding the pharmacological properties and drug-likeliness of inhibitors. To circumvent this, problematic features of the MBP can be identified and exchanged with isosteric replacements. Herein, the carboxylic and hydroxyl group of the salicylic acid MBP were replaced and a total of 27 salicylate metal-binding isosteres (MBIs) synthesized. Of these 27 MBIs, at least 12 represent previously unreported compounds, and the metal-binding abilities of >20 of the MBIs have not been previously reported. These salicylate MBIs were examined for their metal-binding features in model complexes, physicochemical properties, and biological activity. It was observed that salicylate MBIs can demonstrate a range of attractive physicochemical properties and bind to the metal in a variety of expected and unexpected binding modes. The biological activity of these novel MBIs was evaluated by measuring inhibition against two Zn2+-dependent metalloenzymes, human glyoxalase 1 (GLO1) and matrix metalloproteinase 3 (MMP-3), as well as a dinuclear Mn2+-dependent metalloenzyme, influenza H1N1 N-terminal endonuclease (PAN). It was observed that salicylate MBIs could maintain or improve enzyme inhibition and selectivity. To probe salicylate MBIs as fragments for fragment-based drug discovery (FBDD), an MBI that showed good inhibitory activity against GLO1 was derivatized and a rudimentary structure–activity relationship was developed. The resulting elaborated fragments showed GLO1 inhibition with low micromolar activity.

Graphical abstract: Salicylate metal-binding isosteres as fragments for metalloenzyme inhibition

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Article information

Article type
Edge Article
30 Oct 2021
12 Jan 2022
First published
21 Jan 2022
This article is Open Access

All publication charges for this article have been paid for by the Royal Society of Chemistry
Creative Commons BY license

Chem. Sci., 2022,13, 2128-2136

Salicylate metal-binding isosteres as fragments for metalloenzyme inhibition

M. K. Jackl, H. Seo, J. Karges, M. Kalaj and S. M. Cohen, Chem. Sci., 2022, 13, 2128 DOI: 10.1039/D1SC06011B

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