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Intracellular Binding/Unbinding Kinetics of Approved Drugs to Carbonic Anhydrase II Observed by in-Cell NMR

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journal contribution
posted on 01.10.2020, 02:13 by Enrico Luchinat, Letizia Barbieri, Matteo Cremonini, Alessio Nocentini, Claudiu T. Supuran, Lucia Banci
Candidate drugs rationally designed in vitro often fail due to low efficacy in vivo caused by low tissue availability or because of unwanted side effects. To overcome the limitations of in vitro rational drug design, the binding of candidate drugs to their target needs to be evaluated in the cellular context. Here, we applied in-cell NMR to investigate the binding of a set of approved drugs to the isoform II of carbonic anhydrase (CA) in living human cells. Some compounds were originally developed toward other targets and were later found to inhibit CAs. We observed strikingly different dose- and time-dependent binding, wherein some drugs exhibited a more complex behavior than others. Specifically, some compounds were shown to gradually unbind from intracellular CA II, even in the presence of free compound in the external medium, therefore preventing the quantitative formation of a stable protein–ligand complex. Such observations could be correlated to the known off-target binding activity of these compounds, suggesting that this approach could provide information on the pharmacokinetic profiles of lead candidates at the early stages of multitarget drug design.