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Bioorg Med Chem Lett. 2008 Jan 1;18(1):236-40. Epub 2007 Oct 30.

Development of dimeric modulators for anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 proteins.

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Department of Medicinal Chemistry, University of Minnesota Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA.


Bcl-2 family proteins can be classified into two subfamilies--anti-apoptotic members and pro-apoptotic members. Mechanistically, these two subfamilies can antagonize each other through heterodimerization while homodimerization has been proposed for each subfamily to carry out their corresponding anti-apoptotic or pro-apoptotic functions. To date, many small-molecule antagonists against anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 proteins have been developed, which are monomeric modulators. In this study, a series of BH3I-1 based dimeric modulators were developed with structure-activity relationship explored. Dimeric modulators compared to the monomeric antagonists have enhanced binding activity against anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 proteins. In addition, the acidic functional group was demonstrated to be critical for the binding interaction of the small-molecule antagonists with anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 proteins. Finally, the representative dimeric modulator revealed enhanced activity in inducing cytochrome c release from mitochondria compared to its monomeric counterpart. Taken together, dimerization of monomeric modulators is one practical approach to enhance the bioactivity of Bcl-2 antagonists.

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