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Synthesis and Mechanism of Action Studies of a Series of Norindenoisoquinoline Topoisomerase I Poisons Reveal an Inhibitor with a Flipped Orientation in the Ternary DNA−Enzyme−Inhibitor Complex As Determined by X-ray Crystallographic Analysis

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journal contribution
posted on 28.07.2005, 00:00 by Alexandra Ioanoviciu, Smitha Antony, Yves Pommier, Bart L. Staker, Lance Stewart, Mark Cushman
Several norindenoisoquinolines substituted with methoxy or methylenedioxy groups have been prepared and their anticancer properties evaluated in cancer cell cultures and in topoisomerase I inhibition assays. 2,3-Dimethoxy-8,9-methylenedioxy-11H-indeno[1,2-c]isoquinoline hydrochloride (14) is a strong topoisomerase I inhibitor and also displays very high cytotoxicity in the NCI cancer cell culture screen (mean graph midpoint of 50 nM). The X-ray crystal structure of norindenoisoquinoline 14 in complex with topoisomerase I and DNA has been solved, providing insight into the structure−activity relationships within this class of new anticancer agents. The number and position of the norindenoisoquinoline substituents have a significant influence on biological activity and demonstrate that substitution on the nitrogen atom is not an absolute requirement for the antitumor effect of the indenoisoquinolines. Removal of the 11-keto group from the lead compound 1 and replacement of the N-alkyllactam with an unsubstituted pyridine ring causes the indenoisoquinoline ring system to flip over in the DNA−enzyme−inhibitor ternary complex. This allows the nitrogen atom to assume the hydrogen bond acceptor role of the 11-keto group, resulting in hydrogen bonding to Arg364.

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