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Design of Gallinamide A Analogs as Potent Inhibitors of the Cysteine Proteases Human Cathepsin L and Trypanosoma cruzi Cruzain

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posted on 04.10.2019, 16:38 by Paul D. Boudreau, Bailey W. Miller, Laura-Isobel McCall, Jehad Almaliti, Raphael Reher, Ken Hirata, Thu Le, Jair L. Siqueira-Neto, Vivian Hook, William H. Gerwick
Gallinamide A, originally isolated with a modest antimalarial activity, was subsequently reisolated and characterized as a potent, selective, and irreversible inhibitor of the human cysteine protease cathepsin L. Molecular docking identified potential modifications to improve binding, which were synthesized as a suite of analogs. Resultingly, this current study produced the most potent gallinamide analog yet tested against cathepsin L (10, Ki = 0.0937 ± 0.01 nM and kinact/Ki = 8 730 000). From a protein structure and substrate preference perspective, cruzain, an essential Trypanosoma cruzi cysteine protease, is highly homologous. Our investigations revealed that gallinamide and its analogs potently inhibit cruzain and are exquisitely toxic toward T. cruzi in the intracellular amastigote stage. The most active compound, 5, had an IC50 = 5.1 ± 1.4 nM, but was relatively inactive to both the epimastigote (insect stage) and the host cell, and thus represents a new candidate for the treatment of Chagas disease.