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Synthesis of GABAA Receptor Agonists and Evaluation of their α-Subunit Selectivity and Orientation in the GABA Binding Site

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journal contribution
posted on 14.08.2008 by Michaela Jansen, Holger Rabe, Axelle Strehle, Sandra Dieler, Fabian Debus, Gerd Dannhardt, Myles H. Akabas, Hartmut Lüddens
Drugs used to treat various disorders target GABAA receptors. To develop α subunit selective compounds, we synthesized 5-(4-piperidyl)-3-isoxazolol (4-PIOL) derivatives. The 3-isoxazolol moiety was substituted by 1,3,5-oxadiazol-2-one, 1,3,5-oxadiazol-2-thione, and substituted 1,2,4-triazol-3-ol heterocycles with modifications to the basic piperidine substituent as well as substituents without basic nitrogen. Compounds were screened by [3H]muscimol binding and in patch-clamp experiments with heterologously expressed GABAA αiβ3γ2 receptors (i = 1−6). The effects of 5-aminomethyl-3H-[1,3,4]oxadiazol-2-one 5d were comparable to GABA for all α subunit isoforms. 5-piperidin-4-yl-3H-[1,3,4]oxadiazol-2-one 5a and 5-piperidin-4-yl-3H-[1,3,4]oxadiazol-2-thione 6a were weak agonists at α2-, α3-, and α5-containing receptors. When coapplied with GABA, they were antagonistic in α2-, α4-, and α6-containing receptors and potentiated α3-containing receptors. 6a protected GABA binding site cysteine-substitution mutants α1F64C and α1S68C from reacting with methanethiosulfonate-ethylsulfonate. 6a specifically covalently modified the α1R66C thiol, in the GABA binding site, through its oxadiazolethione sulfur. These results demonstrate the feasibility of synthesizing α subtype selective GABA mimetic drugs.