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J Med Chem. 2010 Feb 11;53(3):1067-75. doi: 10.1021/jm9012455.

Potent inhibitors of furin and furin-like proprotein convertases containing decarboxylated P1 arginine mimetics.

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Institute of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, Philipps University Marburg, Marbacher Weg 6, D-35032 Marburg, Germany.


Furin belongs to the family of proprotein convertases (PCs) and is involved in numerous normal physiological and pathogenic processes, such as viral propagation, bacterial toxin activation, cancer, and metastasis. Furin and related furin-like PCs cleave their substrates at characteristic multibasic consensus sequences, preferentially after an arginine residue. By incorporating decarboxylated arginine mimetics in the P1 position of substrate analogue peptidic inhibitors, we could identify highly potent furin inhibitors. The most potent compound, phenylacetyl-Arg-Val-Arg-4-amidinobenzylamide (15), inhibits furin with a K(i) value of 0.81 nM and has also comparable affinity to other PCs like PC1/3, PACE4, and PC5/6, whereas PC2 and PC7 or trypsin-like serine proteases were poorly affected. In fowl plague virus (influenza A, H7N1)-infected MDCK cells, inhibitor 15 inhibited proteolytic hemagglutinin cleavage and was able to reduce virus propagation in a long-term infection test. Molecular modeling revealed several key interactions of the 4-amidinobenzylamide residue in the S1 pocket of furin contributing to the excellent affinity of these inhibitors.

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