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Bioorg Med Chem. 2003 Jul 31;11(15):3237-44.

Synthesis and evaluation of esters and carbamates to identify critical functional groups for esterase-specific metabolism.

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Department of Molecular Pharmacology, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Memphis, TN, USA.


In an effort to develop novel prodrugs for viral directed enzyme prodrug therapy (VDEPT) approaches to chemotherapy, eleven esters and carbamates of o-nitrophenol, p-nitrophenol, and beta-naphthol were synthesized and characterized as substrates for rabbit (rCE) and human liver (hCE1) carboxylesterases. All of the esters of o-, p-nitrophenols, and beta-naphthols showed moderate hydrolysis by both rCE and hCE1. Esters of beta-naphthols exhibited higher hydrolysis rates compared to esters of p-nitrophenols by rCE. Of the carbamates, 4-benzyl-piperazine-1-carboxylic acid 2-nitrophenol showed preferential hydrolysis by rCE compared to hCE1 with a V(max) of 54.4 micromoles/min/mg, and a K(m) value of 1071 microM. Substrate metabolism by a specific CE or inhibition of CEs by each compound depended on several factors, including the types of functional groups and linking moieties.

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