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J Med Chem. 2003 Jul 17;46(15):3292-9.

A conformationally locked analogue of the anti-HIV agent stavudine. An important correlation between pseudorotation and maximum amplitude.

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Laboratory of Medicinal Chemistry, Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute-Frederick, National Institutes of Health, Frederick, Maryland 21702, USA.


The synthesis and biological evaluation of a bicyclo[3.1.0]hexene nucleoside designed as a conformational mimic of the anti-HIV agent stavudine (1, D4T) is described. The unsaturated methanocarbocyclic pseudosugar of N-MCD4T (2) was constructed from an iodo-substituted precursor by a DBU-catalyzed olefination reaction. Mitsunobu coupling with N(3)-benzoylthymine afforded the desired target after deprotection. Both D4T and N-MCD4T are in the North (N) hemisphere of the pseudorotational cycle but 70 degrees away from a perfect N (P = 0 degrees ) conformation toward the East and West hemispheres, respectively. Despite this large difference, the double bond reduces the puckering amplitude (nu(max)) of N-MCD4T to 6.81 degrees, and the superposition of both structures showed a RMS deviation of only 0.039 A. The combined structural analysis of P and nu(max) shows that while the value of P may differ substantially, the low nu(max) resolves the differences and becomes the dominant pseudorotational parameter. N-MCD4T is active against HIV-1 and HIV-2 in CEM, MT-2, and MT-4 cells, and while it is somewhat less potent than D4T, it also appears to be less toxic. The triphosphate (N-MCD4TTP) inhibits HIV reverse transcriptase with a 10-fold higher IC(50) than D4TTP. By virtue of its carbocyclic nature, N-MCD4T (2) is a more robust molecule stable to conditions that would cleave D4T.

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