Selective Inhibitors of Human Neuraminidase 1 (NEU1)

Inhibitors of human neuraminidase enzymes (NEU) are recognized as important tools for the study of the biological functions of NEU and will be potent tools for elucidating the role of these enzymes in regulating the repertoire of cellular glycans. Here we report the discovery of selective inhibitors of the human neuraminidase 1 (NEU1) and neuraminidase 2 (NEU2) enzymes with exceptional potency. A library of modified 2-deoxy-2,3-didehydro-N-acetylneuraminic acid (DANA) analogues, with variability in the C5- or C9-position, were synthesized and evaluated against four human neuraminidase isoenyzmes (NEU1–4). Hydrophobic groups with an amide linker at the C5 and C9 positions were well accommodated by NEU1, and a hexanamido group was found to give the best potency at both positions. While the C5-hexanamido-C9-hexanamido-DANA analogue did not show synergistic improvements for combined modification, an extended alkylamide at an individual position combined with a smaller group at the second gave increased potency. The best NEU1 inhibitor identified was a C5-hexanamido-C9-acetamido-DANA that had a Ki of 53 ± 5 nM and 340-fold selectivity over other isoenzymes. Additionally, we demonstrated that C5-modifications combined with a C4-guandino group provided the most potent NEU2 inhibitor reported, with a Ki of 1.3 ± 0.2 μM and 7-fold selectivity over other NEU isoenzymes.