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J Med Chem. 2011 Mar 10;54(5):1276-87. doi: 10.1021/jm101225g. Epub 2011 Feb 15.

Design, synthesis, and structure-activity relationship of Trypanosoma brucei leucyl-tRNA synthetase inhibitors as antitrypanosomal agents.

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School of Pharmacy, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai, China.


African trypanosomiasis, caused by the proto zoal pathogen Trypanosoma brucei (T. brucei), is one of the most neglected tropical diseases that are in great need of new drugs. We report the design and synthesis of T. brucei leucyl-tRNA synthetase (TbLeuRS) inhibitors and their structure--activity relationship. Benzoxaborole was used as the core structure and C(6) was modified to achieve improved affinity based on docking results that showed further binding space at this position. Indeed, compounds with C(7) substitutions showed diminished activity due to clash with the eukaryote specific I4ae helix while substitutions at C(6) gave enhanced affinity. TbLeuRS inhibitors with IC(50) as low as 1.6 μM were discovered, and the structure-activity relationship was discussed. The most potent enzyme inhibitors also showed excellent T. brucei parasite growth inhibition activity. This is the first time that TbLeuRS inhibitors are reported, and this study suggests that leucyl-tRNA synthetase (LeuRS) could be a potential target for antiparasitic drug development.

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