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Bioorg Med Chem Lett. 2000 Dec 4;10(23):2633-7.

Pharmacophore identification of a specific CXCR4 inhibitor, T140, leads to development of effective anti-HIV agents with very high selectivity indexes.

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Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Kyoto University, Japan.


A polyphemusin peptide analogue, T22 ([Tyr(5,12), Lys7]-polyphemusin II), and its shortened potent analogues, T134 (des-[Cys(8,13), Tyr(9,12)]-[D-Lys10, Pro11, L-citrulline16]-T22 without C-terminal amide) and T140 [[L-3-(2-naphthyl)alanine3]-T134], strongly inhibit the T-cell line-tropic (T-tropic) HIV-1 infection through their specific binding to a chemokine receptor, CXCR4. T22 is an extremely basic peptide possessing five Arg and three Lys residues in the molecule. In our previous study, we found that there is an apparent correlation in the T22-related peptides between the number of total positive charges and anti-HIV activity or cytotoxicity. Here, we have conducted the conventional Ala-scanning study in order to define the anti-HIV activity pharmacophore of T140 (the strongest analogue among our compounds) and identified four indispensable amino acid residues (Arg2, Nal3, Tyr5, and Arg14). Based on this result, a series of L-citrulline (Cit)-substituted analogues of T140 with decreased net positive charges have been synthesized and evaluated in terms of anti-HIV activity and cytotoxicity. As a result, novel effective inhibitors, TC14003 and TC14005, possessing higher selectivity indexes (SIs, 50% cytotoxic concentration/50% effective concentration) than that of T140 have been developed.

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