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J Med Chem. 1998 May 7;41(10):1581-97.

Cyclopropane-derived peptidomimetics. Design, synthesis, evaluation, and structure of novel HIV-1 protease inhibitors.

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Structural Biochemistry Program, Frederick Biomedical Supercomputing Center, NCI-FCRDC, Frederick, Maryland 21702, USA.


Toward establishing the general efficacy of using trisubstituted cyclopropanes as peptide mimics to stabilize extended peptide structures, the cyclopropanes 20a-d were incorporated as replacements into 9-13, which are analogues of the known HIV-1 protease inhibitors 14 and 15. The syntheses of 20a-d commenced with the Rh2[5(S)-MEPY]4-catalyzed cyclization of the allylic diazoesters 16a-d to give the cyclopropyl lactones 17a-d in high enantiomeric excess. Opening of the lactone moiety using the Weinreb protocol and straightforward refunctionalization of the intermediate amides 18a-d gave 20a-d. A similar sequence of reactions was used to prepare the N-methyl-2-pyridyl analogue 28. Coupling of 20a-d and 28 with the known diamino diol 22 delivered 9-13. Pseudopeptides 9-12 were found to be competitive inhibitors of wild-type HIV-1 protease in biological assays having Kis of 0.31-0.35 nM for 9, 0.16-0.21 nM for 10, 0.47 nM for 11, and 0.17 nM for 12; these inhibitors were thus approximately equipotent to the known inhibitor 14(IC50 = 0.22 nM) from which they were derived. On the other hand 13 (Ki = 80 nM) was a weaker inhibitor than its analogue 15 (Ki = 0.11 nM). The solution structures of 9 and 10 were analyzed by NMR spectroscopy and simulated annealing procedures that included restraints derived from homo- and heteronuclear coupling constants and NOEs; because of the molecular symmetry of9 and 10, a special protocol to treat the NOE data was used. The final structure was checked by restrained and free molecular dynamic calculations using an explicit DMSO solvent box. The preferred solution conformations of 9 and 10 are extended structures that closely resemble the three-dimensional structure of 10 bound to HIV-1 protease as determined by X-ray crystallographic analysis of the complex. This work convincingly demonstrates that extended structures of peptides may be stabilized by the presence of substituted cyclopropanes that serve as peptide replacements. Moreover, the linear structure enforced in solution by the two cyclopropane rings in the pseudopeptides 9-12 appears to correspond closely to the biologically active conformation of the more flexible inhibitors 14 and 15. The present work, which is a combination of medicinal, structural, and quantum chemistry, thus clearly establishes that cyclopropanes may be used as structural constraints to reduce the flexibility of linear pseudopeptides and to help enforce the biologically active conformation of such ligands in solution.

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