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Bioorg Med Chem. 2004 Jun 15;12(12):3167-85.

Design, synthesis, and biological evaluation of novel 7-azaindolyl-heteroaryl-maleimides as potent and selective glycogen synthase kinase-3beta (GSK-3beta) inhibitors.

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Drug Discovery Division, Johnson and Johnson Pharmaceutical Research and Development, L.L.C., Raritan, NJ 08869-0602, USA.


Two approaches were developed to synthesize the novel 7-azaindolyl-heteroarylmaleimides. The first approach was based upon the palladium-catalyzed Suzuki cross-coupling or Stille cross-coupling of 2-chloro-maleimide 5 with various arylboronic acids or arylstannanes. The second approach was based upon the condensation of ethyl 7-azaindolyl-3-glyoxylate 12 with various acetamides. The hydroxypropyl-substituted 7-azaindolylmaleimide template was first used to screen different heteroaryls attached to the maleimide. Replacement of hydroxypropyl with different chain lengths and different functional groups were studied next. Many compounds synthesized were demonstrated to have high potency at GSK-3beta, good GS activity in HEK293 cells and good to excellent metabolic stability in human liver microsomes. Three representative compounds (21, 33, and 34) were demonstrated to have good selectivity against a panel of 80 kinase assays. Among them, compound 33 exhibited very weak inhibitions at the other 79 kinase assays, and behaved as a highly selective GSK-3beta inhibitor.

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