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J Med Chem. 2010 May 27;53(10):4187-97. doi: 10.1021/jm100265s.

Almiramides A-C: discovery and development of a new class of leishmaniasis lead compounds.

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Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of California Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, California 95064, USA.


Leishmaniasis is a debilitating disease caused by protozoan parasites of the genus Leishmania, which affects an estimated 12 million people worldwide. The discovery of new lead compounds for leishmaniasis is therefore a pressing concern for global health programs. The organic extract of a Panamanian collection of the marine cyanobacterium Lyngbya majuscula showed strong in vitro activity in two complementary screens against the tropical parasite Leishmania donovani, the causative agent of visceral leishmaniasis. Chromatographic separation of this complex mixture led to the isolation of the highly N-methylated linear lipopeptides, almiramides A-C (1-3). Comparison with the biological activities of a number of related metabolites and semisynthetic derivatives revealed key features required for activity and afforded one new compound (11) with superior in vitro activity. Subsequent synthesis of a library of simplified analogues led to the discovery of several compounds with improved therapeutic indices to the natural products.

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