Send to

Choose Destination
Chem Biol. 2001 Dec;8(12):1161-6.

Drug design with a new transition state analog of the hydrated carbonyl: silicon-based inhibitors of the HIV protease.

Author information

Department of Chemistry, State University of New York, Stony Brook, NY 11794-3400, USA.



Silicon is the element most similar to carbon, and bioactive organosilanes have therefore been of longstanding interest. Design of bioactive organosilanes has often involved a systematic replacement of a bioactive molecule's stable carbon atoms with silicon. Silanediols, which are best known as unstable precursors of the robust and ubiquitous silicone polymers, have the potential to mimic an unstable carbon, the hydrated carbonyl. As a bioisostere of the tetrahedral intermediate of amide hydrolysis, a silanediol could act as a transition state analog inhibitor of protease enzymes.


Silanediol analogs of a carbinol-based inhibitor of the HIV protease were prepared as single enantiomers, with up to six stereogenic centers. As inhibitors of this aspartic protease, the silanediols were nearly equivalent to both their carbinol analogs and indinavir, a current treatment for AIDS, with low nanomolar K(i) values. IC(90) data from a cell culture assay mirrored the K(i) data, demonstrating that the silanediols can also cross cell membranes and deliver their antiviral effects.


In their first evaluation as inhibitors of an aspartic protease, silanediol peptidomimetics have been found to be nearly as potent as currently available pharmaceutical agents, in enzyme and cell protection assays. These neutral, cell-permeable transition state analogs therefore provide a novel foundation for the design of therapeutic agents.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center