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J Med Chem. 2010 Jan 14;53(1):155-65. doi: 10.1021/jm9015284.

The discodermolide hairpin structure flows from conformationally stable modular motifs.

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Department of Chemistry, Emory University, 1515 Dickey Drive, Atlanta, Georgia 30322, USA.


(+)-Discodermolide (DDM), a polyketide macrolide from marine sponge, is a potent microtubule assembly promoter. Reported solid-state, solution, and protein-bound DDM conformations reveal the unusual result that a common hairpin conformational motif exists in all three microenvironments. No other flexible microtubule binding agent exhibits such constancy of conformation. In the present study, we combine force-field conformational searches with NMR deconvolution in different solvents to compare DDM conformers with those observed in other environments. While several conformational families are perceived, the hairpin form dominates. The stability of this motif is dictated primarily by steric factors arising from repeated modular segments in DDM composed of the C(Me)-CHX-C(Me) fragment. Furthermore, docking protocols were utilized to probe the DDM binding mode in beta-tubulin. A previously suggested pose is substantiated (Pose-1), while an alternative (Pose-2) has been identified. SAR analysis for DDM analogues differentiates the two poses and suggests that Pose-2 is better able to accommodate the biodata.

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