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J Biol Chem. 2005 May 6;280(18):18001-7. Epub 2005 Feb 28.

A novel, potent dual inhibitor of the leukocyte proteases cathepsin G and chymase: molecular mechanisms and anti-inflammatory activity in vivo.

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  • 1Drug Discovery, Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical Research and Development, Spring House, Pennsylvania 19477-0776, USA.


Certain leukocytes release serine proteases that sustain inflammatory processes and cause disease conditions, such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. We identified beta-ketophosphonate 1 (JNJ-10311795; RWJ-355871) as a novel, potent dual inhibitor of neutrophil cathepsin G (K(i) = 38 nm) and mast cell chymase (K(i) = 2.3 nm). The x-ray crystal structures of 1 complexed with human cathepsin G (1.85 A) and human chymase (1.90 A) reveal the molecular basis of the dual inhibition. Ligand 1 occupies the S(1) and S(2) subsites of cathepsin G and chymase similarly, with the 2-naphthyl in S(1), the 1-naphthyl in S(2), and the phosphonate group in a complex network of hydrogen bonds. Surprisingly, however, the carboxamido-N-(naphthalene-2-carboxyl)piperidine group is found to bind in two distinct conformations. In cathepsin G, this group occupies the hydrophobic S(3)/S(4) subsites, whereas in chymase, it does not; rather, it folds onto the 1-naphthyl group of the inhibitor itself. Compound 1 exhibited noteworthy anti-inflammatory activity in rats for glycogen-induced peritonitis and lipopolysaccharide-induced airway inflammation. In addition to a marked reduction in neutrophil influx, 1 reversed increases in inflammatory mediators interleukin-1alpha, interleukin-1beta, tissue necrosis factor-alpha, and monocyte chemotactic protein-1 in the glycogen model and reversed increases in airway nitric oxide levels in the lipopolysaccharide model. These findings demonstrate that it is possible to inhibit both cathepsin G and chymase with a single molecule and suggest an exciting opportunity in the treatment of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

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