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Mol Pharmacol. 2008 Jul;74(1):92-100. doi: 10.1124/mol.108.045526. Epub 2008 Apr 22.

Activation of 9-[(R)-2-[[(S)-[[(S)-1-(Isopropoxycarbonyl)ethyl]amino] phenoxyphosphinyl]-methoxy]propyl]adenine (GS-7340) and other tenofovir phosphonoamidate prodrugs by human proteases.

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Gilead Sciences, Inc., 362 Lakeside Drive, Foster City, CA 94404, USA.


9-[(R)-2-[[(S)-[[(S)-1-(Isopropoxycarbonyl)ethyl]amino] phenoxyphosphinyl]-methoxy]propyl]adenine (GS-7340) is an isopropylalaninyl phenyl ester prodrug of the nucleotide HIV reverse transcriptase inhibitor tenofovir (TFV; 9-[(2-phosphonomethoxy)propyl]adenine) exhibiting potent anti-HIV activity and enhanced ability to deliver parent TFV into peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) and other lymphatic tissues in vivo. The present study focuses on the intracellular metabolism of GS-7340 and its activation by a variety of cellular hydrolytic enzymes. Incubation of human PBMCs in the presence of GS-7340 indicates that the prodrug is hydrolyzed slightly faster to an intermediate TFV-alanine conjugate (TFV-Ala) in quiescent PBMCs compared with activated cells (0.21 versus 0.16 pmol/min/10(6) cells). In contrast, the conversion of TFV-Ala to TFV and subsequent phosphorylation to TFV-diphosphate occur more rapidly in activated PBMCs. The activity of GS-7340 hydrolase producing TFV-Ala in PBMCs is primarily localized in lysosomes and is sensitive to inhibitors of serine hydrolases. Cathepsin A, a lysosomal serine protease has recently been identified as the primary enzyme activating GS-7340 in human PBMCs. Results from the present study indicate that in addition to cathepsin A, a variety of serine and cysteine proteases cleave GS-7340 and other phosphonoamidate prodrugs of TFV. The substrate preferences displayed by these enzymes toward TFV amidate prodrugs are nearly identical to their preferences displayed against oligopeptide substrates, indicating that GS-7340 and other phosphonoamidate derivatives of TFV should be considered peptidomimetic prodrugs of TFV.

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