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J Med Chem. 2004 Sep 9;47(19):4755-65.

Dipeptidomimetic ketomethylene isosteres as pro-moieties for drug transport via the human intestinal di-/tripeptide transporter hPEPT1: design, synthesis, stability, and biological investigations.

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Department of Medicinal Chemistry, Institute of Pharmacy, University of Tromsø, N-9037 Tromsø, Norway.


Five dipeptidomimetic-based model prodrugs containing ketomethylene amide bond replacements were synthesized from readily available alpha,beta-unsaturated gamma-ketoesters. The model drug (BnOH) was attached to the C-terminus or to one of the side chain positions of the dipeptidomimetic. The stability, the affinity for the di-/tripeptide transporter hPEPT1, and the transepithelial transport properties of the model prodrugs were investigated. ValPsi[COCH(2)]Asp(OBn) was the compound with highest chemical stability in buffers at pH 6.0 and 7.4, with half-lives of 190 and 43 h, respectively. All five compounds showed high affinity for hPEPT1 (K(i) values < 1 mM), and PhePsi[COCH(2)]Asp(OBn) and ValPsi[COCH(2)]Asp(OBn) had the highest affinities with K(i) values of 68 and 19 microM, respectively. An hPEPT1-mediated transport component was demonstrated for the transepithelial transport of three compounds, a finding that was corroborated by hPEPT1-mediated intracellular uptake. The results indicate that the stabilized Phe-Asp and Val-Asp derivatives are promising pro-moieties in a prodrug approach targeting hPEPT1.

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