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J Med Chem. 1993 Dec 24;36(26):4152-60.

Three-dimensional QSAR of human immunodeficiency virus (I) protease inhibitors. 1. A CoMFA study employing experimentally-determined alignment rules.

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Center for Molecular Design, Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri 63130.


Comparative molecular field analysis (CoMFA), a three-dimensional, quantitative structure-activity relationship (QSAR) paradigm, was used to examine the correlations between the calculated physicochemical properties and the in vitro activities of a series of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV-1) protease inhibitors. The training set consisted of 59 molecules from five structurally-diverse transition-state isostere classes: hydroxyethylamine, statine, norstatine, keto amide, and dihydroxyethylene. The availability of X-ray crystallographic data for at least one representative from each class bound to the protease provided information regarding not only the active conformation of each ligand but also, via superimposition of protease backbones, the relative positions of each ligand with respect to one another in the active site of the enzyme. Once aligned, these molecules served as templates on which additional congeners were field-fit minimized. Additional alignment rules were derived from minimizations of the ligands in the active site of the semirigid protease. The predictive ability of each resultant model was evaluated using a test set comprised of molecules containing a novel transition-state isostere: hydroxyethylurea. Crystallographic studies (Getman, D.P.; et al. J. Med. Chem. 1993, 36, 288-291) indicated an unexpected binding mode for this series of compounds which precluded the use of the field-fit minimization alignment technique. The test set molecules were, therefore, subjected to a limited systematic search in conjunction with active-site minimization. The conformer of each molecule expressing the lowest interaction energy with the active site was included in the test set. Field-fit minimization of neutral molecules to crystal ligands and active-site minimizations of protonated ligands yielded predictive correlations for HIV-1 protease inhibitors. The use of crystallographic data in the determination of alignment rules and field-fit minimization as a molecular alignment tool in the absence of direct experimental data regarding binding modes is strongly supported by these results.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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