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J Med Chem. 2001 Mar 1;44(5):725-36.

Cyclic ketone inhibitors of the cysteine protease cathepsin K.

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Department of Medicinal Chemistry, GlaxoSmithKline, King of Prussia, Pennsylvania 19406, USA.


Cathepsin K (EC, a cysteine protease of the papain superfamily, is predominantly expressed in osteoclasts and has been postulated as a target for the treatment of osteoporosis. Crystallographic and structure--activity studies on a series of acyclic ketone-based inhibitors of cathepsin K have led to the design and identification of two series of cyclic ketone inhibitors. The mode of binding for four of these cyclic and acyclic inhibitors to cathepsin K is discussed and compared. All of the structures are consistent with addition of the active site thiol to the ketone of the inhibitors with the formation of a hemithioketal. Cocrystallization of the C-3 diastereomeric 3-amidotetrahydrofuran-4-one analogue 16 with cathepsin K showed the inhibitor to occupy the unprimed side of the active site with the 3S diastereomer preferred. This C-3 stereochemical preference is in contrast to the X-ray cocrystal structures of the 3-amidopyrrolidin-4-one inhibitors 29 and 33 which show these inhibitors to prefer binding of the 3R diastereomer. The 3-amidopyrrolidin-4-one inhibitors were bound in the active site of the enzyme in two alternate directions. Epimerization issues associated with the labile alpha-amino ketone diastereomeric center contained within these inhibitor classes has proven to limit their utility despite promising pharmacokinetics displayed in both series of compounds.

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