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Chem Biol. 2012 May 25;19(5):579-88. doi: 10.1016/j.chembiol.2012.03.009. Epub 2012 Apr 26.

Highly selective inhibitors of monoacylglycerol lipase bearing a reactive group that is bioisosteric with endocannabinoid substrates.

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The Skaggs Institute for Chemical Biology and Department of Chemical Physiology, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA.


The endocannabinoids 2-arachidonoyl glycerol (2-AG) and N-arachidonoyl ethanolamine (anandamide) are principally degraded by monoacylglycerol lipase (MAGL) and fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH), respectively. The recent discovery of O-aryl carbamates such as JZL184 as selective MAGL inhibitors has enabled functional investigation of 2-AG signaling pathways in vivo. Nonetheless, JZL184 and other reported MAGL inhibitors still display low-level cross-reactivity with FAAH and peripheral carboxylesterases, which can complicate their use in certain biological studies. Here, we report a distinct class of O-hexafluoroisopropyl (HFIP) carbamates that inhibits MAGL in vitro and in vivo with excellent potency and greatly improved selectivity, including showing no detectable cross-reactivity with FAAH. These findings designate HFIP carbamates as a versatile chemotype for inhibiting MAGL and should encourage the pursuit of other serine hydrolase inhibitors that bear reactive groups resembling the structures of natural substrates.

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