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J Med Chem. 1998 Jul 16;41(15):2786-805.

Tripeptide aldehyde inhibitors of human rhinovirus 3C protease: design, synthesis, biological evaluation, and cocrystal structure solution of P1 glutamine isosteric replacements.

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Agouron Pharmaceuticals, Inc., 3565 General Atomics Court, San Diego, California 92121, USA.


The investigation of tripeptide aldehydes as reversible covalent inhibitors of human rhinovirus (HRV) 3C protease (3CP) is reported. Molecular models based on the apo crystal structure of HRV-14 3CP and other trypsin-like serine proteases were constructed to approximate the binding of peptide substrates, generate transition state models of P1-P1' amide cleavage, and propose novel tripeptide aldehydes. Glutaminal derivatives have limitations since they exist predominantly in the cyclic hemiaminal form. Therefore, several isosteric replacements for the P1 carboxamide side chain were designed and incorporated into the tripeptide aldehydes. These compounds were found to be potent inhibitors of purified HRV-14 3CP with Kis ranging from 0.005 to 0.64 microM. Several have low micromolar antiviral activity when tested against HRV-14-infected H1-HeLa cells. The N-acetyl derivative 3 was also shown to be active against HRV serotypes 2, 16, and 89. High-resolution cocrystal structures of HRV-2 3CP, covalently bound to compounds 3, 15, and 16, were solved. These cocrystal structures were analyzed and compared with our original HRV-14 3CP-substrate and inhibitor models.

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