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Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2014 May;58(5):2586-97. doi: 10.1128/AAC.01445-13. Epub 2014 Feb 18.

Discovery of compounds blocking the proliferation of Toxoplasma gondii and Plasmodium falciparum in a chemical space based on piperidinyl-benzimidazolone analogs.

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Commissariat à l'Energie Atomique, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Université Grenoble Alpes, Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, Unité Mixte de Recherche 5168, Institut de Recherches en Technologies et Sciences pour le Vivant, Grenoble, France.


A piperidinyl-benzimidazolone scaffold has been found in the structure of different inhibitors of membrane glycerolipid metabolism, acting on enzymes manipulating diacylglycerol and phosphatidic acid. Screening a focus library of piperidinyl-benzimidazolone analogs might therefore identify compounds acting against infectious parasites. We first evaluated the in vitro effects of (S)-2-(dibenzylamino)-3-phenylpropyl 4-(1,2-dihydro-2-oxobenzo[d]imidazol-3-yl)piperidine-1-carboxylate (compound 1) on Toxoplasma gondii and Plasmodium falciparum. In T. gondii, motility and apical complex integrity appeared to be unaffected, whereas cell division was inhibited at compound 1 concentrations in the micromolar range. In P. falciparum, the proliferation of erythrocytic stages was inhibited, without any delayed death phenotype. We then explored a library of 250 analogs in two steps. We selected 114 compounds with a 50% inhibitory concentration (IC50) cutoff of 2 μM for at least one species and determined in vitro selectivity indexes (SI) based on toxicity against K-562 human cells. We identified compounds with high gains in the IC50 (in the 100 nM range) and SI (up to 1,000 to 2,000) values. Isobole analyses of two of the most active compounds against P. falciparum indicated that their interactions with artemisinin were additive. Here, we propose the use of structure-activity relationship (SAR) models, which will be useful for designing probes to identify the target compound(s) and optimizations for monotherapy or combined-therapy strategies.

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