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J Med Chem. 2005 Oct 6;48(20):6491-503.

Design, synthesis, and preliminary pharmacological evaluation of a set of small molecules that directly activate gi proteins.

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  • 1Dipartimento di Scienze Farmaceutiche, Universit√† di Firenze, Via U. Schiff 6, I-50019 Sesto Fiorentino (FI), Italy.


Heterotrimeric G proteins play a pivotal role in the communication of cells with the environment. G proteins are stimulated by cell surface receptors (GPCR) that catalyze the exchange of GDP, bound to Galpha subunit, with GTP and can per se be the target of drugs. Based on the structure of two nonpeptidic modulators of Gi proteins, a series of new molecules characterized by a long hydrophobic chain and at least two nitrogen atoms protonated at physiological pH was designed. The compounds were tested for their ability to stimulate binding of GTPgammaS to recombinant Gi proteins. Gi activation properties were also evaluated by inhibition of adenylyl cyclase activity in intact lymphocytes. Most compounds were able to stimulate GTPgammaS binding and to inhibit cAMP production at micromolar doses. Among the active compounds, 34 showed good efficacy and was the most potent compound studied, particularly on alpha(o) subtype; its regioisomer, 36, was the most efficacious one. Compound 7 showed also an interesting profile as it showed selectivity toward the alpha(o) subtype, in both efficacy and potency. Some of the compounds synthesized and found to be active may be useful leads to develop more potent and selective Gi protein modulators.

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