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J Med Chem. 2010 Aug 12;53(15):5523-35. doi: 10.1021/jm100183e.

Identification of the first low-molecular-weight inhibitors of matriptase-2.

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Pharmaceutical Institute, Pharmaceutical Chemistry I, University of Bonn, Bonn, Germany.


As recently discovered, matriptase-2, a type II transmembrane serine protease, plays a crucial role in body iron homeostasis by down-regulating hepcidin expression, which results in increased iron levels. Thus, matriptase-2 represents a novel target for the development of enzyme inhibitors potentially useful for the treatment of systemic iron overload (hemochromatosis). A comparative three-dimensional model of the catalytic domain of matriptase-2 was generated and utilized for structure-based virtual screening in combination with similarity searching and knowledge-based compound design. Two N-protected dipeptide amides containing a 4-amidinobenzylamide as P1 residue (compounds 1 and 3) were identified as the first small molecule inhibitors of matriptase-2 with K(i) values of 170 and 460 nM, respectively. An inhibitor of the closely related protease matriptase (compound 2, K(i) = 220 nM), with more than 50-fold selectivity over matriptase-2, was also identified.

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