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J Med Chem. 2013 Feb 14;56(3):1064-73. doi: 10.1021/jm301516q. Epub 2013 Jan 17.

Discovery of 5-benzyl-3-phenyl-4,5-dihydroisoxazoles and 5-benzyl-3-phenyl-1,4,2-dioxazoles as potent firefly luciferase inhibitors.

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School of Pharmacy, University of Eastern Finland , P.O. Box 1627, FI-70211 Kuopio, Finland.


Luciferase reporter assays are commonly used in high-throughput screening methods. Here, we report new firefly luciferase (FLuc) inhibitors based on 5-benzyl-3-phenyl-4,5-dihydroisoxazoles and 5-benzyl-3-phenyl-1,4,2-dioxazoles, which showed up as "false positives" in a luciferase reporter gene-based assay for nuclear receptor antagonists. The inhibition was shown to be noncompetitive for both natural enzyme substrates (d-luciferin and ATP) and selective to FLuc and proven to arise from a direct interaction between the enzyme and the inhibitor. Of the 63 evaluated compounds, 28 showed significantly better inhibition potency than the well-known inhibitor resveratrol (IC(50) = 59 nM), with five compounds having distinctly subnanomolar IC(50) values. The most efficient compounds inhibited the luminescence at concentrations lower than (1)/(100) in comparison to resveratrol (lowest IC(50) = 0.26 nM) and can thus be considered to belong to the most potent FLuc inhibitors reported thus far. Overall, the novel inhibitors form a unique molecular library for structure-activity relationship (SAR) analyses.

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