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J Med Chem. 2011 Oct 27;54(20):7268-79. doi: 10.1021/jm2008419. Epub 2011 Oct 5.

Synthesis and Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) activity of phosphatidylinositol dimannoside analogues.

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  • 1Carbohydrate Chemistry Team, Industrial Research Limited, P.O. Box 31-310, Lower Hutt, New Zealand.


A series of five PIM(2) analogues were synthesized and tested for their ability to activate primary macrophages and modulate LPS signaling. Structural changes included replacement of the fatty acid esters of the phosphatidyl moiety of PIM(2) with the corresponding ether or amide. An AcPIM(2) analogue possessing an ether linkage was also prepared. The synthetic methodology utilized an orthogonally protected chiral myo-inositol starting material that was conveniently prepared from myo-inositol in just two steps. Important steps in the synthetic protocols included the regio- and α-selective glycosylation of inositol O-6 and introduction of the phosphodiester utilizing phosphoramidite chemistry. Replacement of the inositol core with a glycerol moiety gave compounds described as phosphatidylglycerol dimannosides (PGM(2)). Biological testing of these PIM compounds indicated that the agonist activity was TLR4 dependent. An ether linkage increased agonist activity. Removal of the inositol ring enhanced antagonist activity, and the presence of an additional lipid chain enhanced LPS-induced cytokine production in primary macrophages. Furthermore, the interruption of the LPS-induced 2:2 TLR4/MD-2 signaling complex formation by PIM(2) represents a previously unidentified mechanism involved in the bioactivity of PIM molecules.

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