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J Med Chem. 1999 Nov 4;42(22):4630-9.

Structural specificity of chloroquine-hematin binding related to inhibition of hematin polymerization and parasite growth.

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College of Pharmacy, University of Nebraska Medical Center, 986025 Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, Nebraska 68198-6025, USA.


Considerable data now support the hypothesis that chloroquine (CQ)-hematin binding in the parasite food vacuole leads to inhibition of hematin polymerization and parasite death by hematin poisoning. To better understand the structural specificity of CQ-hematin binding, 13 CQ analogues were chosen and their hematin binding affinity, inhibition of hematin polymerization, and inhibition of parasite growth were measured. As determined by isothermal titration calorimetry (ITC), the stoichiometry data and exothermic binding enthalpies indicated that, like CQ, these analogues bind to two or more hematin mu-oxo dimers in a cofacial pi-pi sandwich-type complex. Association constants (K(a)'s) ranged from 0.46 to 2.9 x 10(5) M(-1) compared to 4.0 x 10(5) M(-1) for CQ. Remarkably, we were not able to measure any significant interaction between hematin mu-oxo dimer and 11, the 6-chloro analogue of CQ. This result indicates that the 7-chloro substituent in CQ is a critical structural determinant in its binding affinity to hematin mu-oxo dimer. Molecular modeling experiments reinforce the view that the enthalpically favorable pi-pi interaction observed in the CQ-hematin mu-oxo dimer complex derives from a favorable alignment of the out-of-plane pi-electron density in CQ and hematin mu-oxo dimer at the points of intermolecular contact. For 4-aminoquinolines related to CQ, our data suggest that electron-withdrawing functional groups at the 7-position of the quinoline ring are required for activity against both hematin polymerization and parasite growth and that chlorine substitution at position 7 is optimal. Our results also confirm that the CQ diaminoalkyl side chain, especially the aliphatic tertiary nitrogen atom, is an important structural determinant in CQ drug resistance. For CQ analogues 1-13, the lack of correlation between K(a) and hematin polymerization IC(50) values suggests that other properties of the CQ-hematin mu-oxo dimer complex, rather than its association constant alone, play a role in the inhibition of hematin polymerization. However, there was a modest correlation between inhibition of hematin polymerization and inhibition of parasite growth when hematin polymerization IC(50) values were normalized for hematin mu-oxo dimer binding affinities, adding further evidence that antimalarial 4-aminoquinolines act by this mechanism.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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