Toll-like receptor (TLR) 7 and 8 agonists are potential vaccine adjuvants, since they directly activate APCs and enhance Th1-driven immune responses. Previous SAR investigations in several scaffolds of small molecule TLR7/8 activators pointed to the strict dependence of the selectivity for TLR7 vis-à-vis TLR8 on the electronic configurations of the heterocyclic systems, which we sought to examine quantitatively with the goal of developing "heuristics" to define structural requisites governing activity at TLR7 and/or TLR8. We undertook a scaffold-hopping approach, entailing the syntheses and biological evaluations of 13 different chemotypes. Crystal structures of TLR8 in complex with the two most active compounds confirmed important binding interactions playing a key role in ligand occupancy and biological activity. Density functional theory based quantum chemical calculations on these compounds followed by linear discriminant analyses permitted the classification of inactive, TLR8-active, and TLR7/8 dual-active compounds, confirming the critical role of partial charges in determining biological activity.
Toll-like receptor (TLR)-8 agonists activate adaptive immune responses by inducing robust production of T helper 1-polarizing cytokines, suggesting that TLR8-active compounds might be promising candidate vaccine adjuvants. Recently, a C2-butyl furo[2,3-c]quinoline was reported with purely TLR8 agonistic activity. This compound was successfully co-crystallized with the human TLR8 ectodomain, and the co-crystal structure revealed ligand-induced reorganization of the binding pocket of TLR8. The loss of a key hydrogen bond between the oxygen atom of the furanyl ring of the agonist and Thr 574 in TLR8 suggested that the furan ring is dispensable. Employing a disconnection strategy, 3- and 4-substituted aminoquinolines were investigated. Focused structure-based ligand design studies led to the identification of 3-pentyl-quinoline-2-amine as a novel, structurally simple, and highly potent human TLR8-specific agonist (EC50 =0.2 ?M). Preliminary evaluation of this compound in ex vivo human blood assay systems revealed that it retains prominent cytokine-inducing activity. Together, these results indicate the suitability of this compound as a novel vaccine adjuvant, warranting further investigation.
Toll-like receptor (TLR)-8 agonists activate adaptive immune responses by inducing robust production of T helper 1-polarizing cytokines, suggesting that TLR8-active compounds may be promising candidate adjuvants. We synthesized and evaluated hitherto unexplored furo[2,3-c]quinolines and regioisomeric furo[3,2-c]quinolines derived via a tandem, one-pot Sonogashira coupling and intramolecular 5-endo-dig cyclization strategy in a panel of primary screens. We observed a pure TLR8-agonistic activity profile in select furo[2,3-c]quinolines, with maximal potency conferred by a C2-butyl group (EC50 = 1.6 ?M); shorter, longer, or substituted homologues as well as compounds bearing C1 substitutions were inactive, which was rationalized by docking studies using the recently described crystal structure of human TLR8. The best-in-class compound displayed prominent proinflammatory cytokine induction (including interleukin-12 and interleukin-18), but was bereft of interferon-? inducing properties, confirming its high selectivity for human TLR8.
Toll-like receptor (TLR)-8 agonists typified by the 2-alkylthiazolo[4,5-c]quinolin-4-amine (CL075) chemotype are uniquely potent in activating adaptive immune responses by inducing robust production of T helper 1-polarizing cytokines, suggesting that TLR8-active compounds could be promising candidate vaccine adjuvants, especially for neonatal vaccines. Alkylthiazoloquinolines with methyl, ethyl, propyl and butyl groups at C2 displayed comparable TLR8-agonistic potencies; activity diminished precipitously in the C2-pentyl compound, and higher homologues were inactive. The C2-butyl compound was unique in possessing substantial TLR7-agonistic activity. Analogues with branched alkyl groups at C2 displayed poor tolerance of terminal steric bulk. Virtually all modifications at C8 led to abrogation of agonistic activity. Alkylation on the C4-amine was not tolerated, whereas N-acyl analogues with short acyl groups (other than acetyl) retained TLR8 agonistic activity, but were substantially less water-soluble. Immunization in rabbits with a model subunit antigen adjuvanted with the lead C2-butyl thiazoloquinoline showed enhancements of antigen-specific antibody titers.
Endotoxins (lipopolysaccharides, LPS) are one of the strongest immunostimulators in nature, responsible for beneficial effects at low, and pathophysiological effects at high concentrations, the latter frequently leading to sepsis and septic shock associated with high mortality in critical care settings. There are no drugs specifically targeting the pathophysiology of sepsis, and new therapeutic agents are therefore urgently needed. The lipopolyamines are a novel class of small molecules designed to sequester and neutralize LPS. To understand the mechanisms underlying the binding and neutralization of LPS toxicity, we have performed detailed biophysical analyses of the interactions of LPS with candidate lipopolyamines which differ in their potencies of LPS neutralization. We examined gel-to-liquid crystalline phase behavior of LPS and of its supramolecular aggregate structures in the absence and presence of lipopolyamines, the ability of such compounds to incorporate into different membrane systems, and the thermodynamics of the LPS:lipopolyamine binding. We have found that the mechanisms which govern the inactivation process of LPS obey similar rules as found for other active endotoxin neutralizers such as certain antimicrobial peptides.
Aqueous solubilities of many drugs in current clinical use are very low, necessitating formulations that often present problems for parenteral administration, including toxicities due to the excipients used. Recognizing that pharmacologically active compounds frequently possess amines, we asked whether pyridoxal phosphate (PLP), an inoccuous, water-soluble vitamin, could be utilized to form prodrug-like complexes via the formation of imine or iminium adducts and whether the vitamin would impart solubilizing properties to such complexes. Direct spectroscopic and crystallographic data obtained using model primary and secondary amines showed that PLP forms stable imine adducts with primary amines under entirely aqueous conditions and at physiologic pH, while no reaction was observed for secondary amines; the basis of the exceptional stability appears to be a consequence of favorable H-bond interactions of the imine nitrogen with the 5-OH group of PLP. Amphotericin B and nystatin in their native forms display marked aqueous insolubility and possess lone primary amines. We were able to utilize PLP in achieving excellent solubilization of both of these antifungal agents, surpassing aqueous solubilities of 100 mg/mL. In in vitro bioassays, both polyenes in their PLP-adducted form display attenuated antifungal potencies which are attributable to "prodrug-like" complexes. These results point to the utility of excipient-free, entirely aqueous formulations of amphotericin B for parenteral use, and may also be extended to other primary amine-bearing compounds exhibiting poor aqueous solubility.
Sepsis, otherwise referred to as "blood poisoning" is a serious clinical problem, the incidence of which continues to rise in the US and worldwide despite advances in antimicrobial chemotherapy. The primary trigger in Gram-negative sepsis is endotoxin, a lipopolysaccharide (LPS) constituent of the outer membrane of all Gram-negative bacteria. The structurally highly conserved glycolipid called lipid A is the active moiety of LPS. Lipid A is composed of a hydrophilic, bis-phosphorylated di-glucosamine backbone, and a hydrophobic polyacyl domain. The bis-anionic, amphiphilic nature of lipid A enables it to interact with a variety of cationic hydrophobic ligands, including polymyxin B, a toxic peptide antibiotic which binds to lipid A and neutralizes endotoxicity. Having determined the structural basis of the interaction of polymyxin B with lipid A, our long-term goal has been to rationally design non-peptidic, nontoxic, small-molecule LPS-sequestrants. Our efforts began with defining the central pharmacophore that determined LPS-recognition and -neutralization properties in small molecules, which led to the discovery of a novel lipopolyamine lead, DS-96. DS-96 is an effective LPS-neutralizer, rivaling polymyxin B in a panel of vitro assays, as well as in protecting animals against endotoxicosis. Structure-activity relationships in our effort to rationally design endotoxin sequestering agents, preclinical assessment of hits and leads, and approaches to overcoming issues with toxicity are described in this chapter.
Amphotericin B (AmB), a well-known polyene antifungal agent, displays a marked tendency to self-associate and, as a consequence, exhibits very poor solubility in water. The therapeutic index of AmB is low and is associated with significant dose-related nephrotoxicity, as well as acute, infusion-related febrile reactions. Reports in the literature indicate that the toxicity of AmB may be related to the physical state of the drug. Reaction of AmB in dimethylformamide with bis(dimethylaminopropyl)carbodiimide yielded an unexpected N-alkylguanidine/N-acylurea bis-adduct of AmB which was highly water-soluble. The absorption spectrum of the AmB derivative in water indicated excellent monomerization, and the antifungal activities of reference AmB and its water-soluble derivative against Candida albicans were found to be virtually identical. Furthermore, the water-soluble adduct is significantly less active in engaging TLR4, which would suggest that the adduct may be less proinflammatory.
Toll-like receptors (TLRs) are a family of conserved pattern recognition receptors (PRRs) that recognize pathogen associated molecular patterns and serve as primary sensors of the innate immune system. Ten members of the TLR family have so far been identified in the human genome. The ligands for these receptors are structurally highly conserved microbial molecules such as lipopolysaccharides (LPS) (recognized by TLR4), lipopeptides (TLR2 in combination with TLR1 or TLR6), flagellin (TLR5), single stranded RNA (TLR7 and TLR8), double-stranded RNA (TLR3), CpG motif-containing DNA (TLR9) and profilin present on uropathogenic bacteria (TLR 11). Complementing the TLRs are the nucleotide-binding domain (NOD), leucine rich repeat containing family (or Nod-like Receptors, NLRs), which detect muramylpeptides released from bacterial peptidoglycan (PGN) in the intracytoplasmic compartment, as well as the retinoic-acid-inducible protein 1 (RIG-I-like receptors; RLRs) which sense single-stranded RNA of viral origin. The activation of PRRs by their cognate ligands leads to production of inflammatory cytokines, upregulation of MHC molecules and co-stimulatory signals in antigen-presenting cells as well as activating natural killer cells, in addition to priming and amplifying antigen-specific T-, and B-cell effector functions. Thus, these stimuli serve to link innate and adaptive immunity and can therefore be exploited as powerful adjuvants in eliciting both primary and anamnestic immune responses. This review summarizes what is currently known about the immunopotentiatory and adjuvantic activities of innate immune stimuli.
The toxicity of gram-negative bacterial endotoxin (lipopolysaccharide, LPS) resides in its structurally highly conserved glycolipid component called lipid A. Our major goal has been to develop small-molecules that would sequester LPS by binding to the lipid A moiety, so that it could be useful for the prophylaxis or adjunctive therapy of gram-negative sepsis. We had previously identified in rapid-throughput screens several guanylhydrazones as potent LPS binders. We were desirous of examining if the presence of the guanylhydrazone (rather than an amine) functionality would afford greater LPS sequestration potency. In evaluating a congeneric set of guanylhydrazone analogues, we find that C(16) alkyl substitution is optimal in the N-alkylguanylhydrazone series; a homospermine analogue with the terminal amine N-alkylated with a C(16) chain with the other terminus of the molecule bearing an unsubstituted guanylhydrazone moiety is marginally more active, suggesting very slight, if any, steric effects. Neither C(16) analogue is significantly more active than the N-C(16)-alkyl or N-C(16)-acyl compounds that we had characterized earlier, indicating that basicity of the phosphate-recognizing cationic group, is not a determinant of LPS sequestration activity.
We have previously shown that simple N-acyl or N-alkyl polyamines bind to and sequester Gram-negative bacterial lipopolysaccharide, affording protection against lethality in animal models of endotoxicosis. Several iterative design-and-test cycles of SAR studies, including high-throughput screens, had converged on compounds with polyamine scaffolds which have been investigated extensively with reference to the number, position, and length of acyl or alkyl appendages. However, the polyamine backbone itself had not been explored sufficiently, and it was not known if incremental variations on the polymethylene spacing would affect LPS-binding and neutralization properties. We have now systematically explored the relationship between variously elongated spermidine [NH(2)-(CH(2))(3)-NH-(CH(2))(4)-NH(2)] and norspermidine [NH(2)-(CH(2))(3)-NH-(CH(2))(3)-NH(2)] backbones, with the N-alkyl group being held constant at C(16) in order to examine if changing the spacing between the inner secondary amines may yield additional SAR information. We find that the norspermine-type compounds consistently showed higher activity compared to corresponding spermine homologues.
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