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J Med Chem. 1994 Sep 30;37(20):3294-302.

The synthesis and thymidylate synthase inhibitory activity of L-gamma-L-linked dipeptide and L-gamma-amide analogues of 2-desamino-2-methyl-N10-propargyl-5,8-dideazafolic acid (ICI 198583).

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CRC Centre for Cancer Therapeutics at the Institute of Cancer Research, Cancer Research Campaign Laboratories, Sutton, Surrey, England.


Sixteen gamma-linked dipeptide and four L-Glu-gamma-amide analogues of 2-desamino-2-methyl-N10-propargyl-5,8-dideazafolic acid (ICI 198583) have been synthesized and evaluated as inhibitors of thymidylate synthase (TS). Z-blocked L-Glu-gamma-L-linked dipeptides and L-Glu-gamma-amides were prepared by condensing alpha-tert-butyl-N-(benzyloxycarbonyl)-L-glutamic acid with the appropriate tert-butyl-protected L-amino acid or amine. The Z group was removed by catalytic hydrogenolysis, and the resulting dipeptides or L-Glu-gamma-amides were condensed with the appropriate pteroic acid analogue trifluoroacetate salt using diethyl cyanophosphoridate as coupling reagent. Deprotection with trifluoroacetic acid in the final step gave the desired quinazoline gamma-linked dipeptides and L-Glu-gamma-amides as their trifluoroacetate salts. Nearly all the dipeptide analogues were potent inhibitors of TS, the best being ICI 198583-gamma-L-2-aminoadipate (IC50 = 2 nM). Several of these dipeptides were found to be susceptible to enzymatic hydrolysis in mice. The quinazoline monocarboxylate L-Glu-gamma-amides, lacking an alpha'-carboxyl group, are less active against TS and L1210 cell growth but are also not susceptible to enzymatic hydrolysis in mice.

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