Synthesis and structure-activity relationships of phenylenebis(methylene)-linked bis-azamacrocycles that inhibit HIV-1 and HIV-2 replication by antagonism of the chemokine receptor CXCR4

J Med Chem. 1999 Sep 23;42(19):3971-81. doi: 10.1021/jm990211i.


Bis-tetraazamacrocycles such as the bicyclam AMD3100 are a class of potent and selective anti-HIV-1 and HIV-2 agents that inhibit virus replication by binding to the chemokine receptor CXCR4, the co-receptor for entry of X4 viruses. With the aim of optimizing the anti-HIV-1 and HIV-2 activity of bis-azamacrocycles, a series of analogues were synthesized which contain neutral heteroatom (oxygen, sulfur) or heteroaromatic (of lower pK(a) than a secondary amine) replacements for the amino groups of AMD3100. The introduction of one or more heteroatoms such as oxygen or sulfur into the macrocyclic ring of p-phenylenebis(methylene)-linked dimers (to give N(3)X or N(2)X(2) bis-macrocycles) gave analogues with substantially reduced anti-HIV-1 (III(B)) and anti-HIV-2 (ROD) potency. In addition, the bis-sulfur analogue was also markedly more cytotoxic to MT-4 cells. However, bis-tetraazamacrocycles featuring a single pyridine group incorporated within the macrocyclic framework exhibited anti-HIV-1 and HIV-2 potency comparable to that of their saturated, aliphatic counterparts. The p-phenylenebis(methylene)-linked dimer of the py[14]aneN(4) macrocycle inhibited HIV-1 replication at a 50% effective concentration (EC(50)) of 0.5 microM while remaining nontoxic to MT-4 cells at concentrations approaching 200 microM. A series of analogues containing macrocyclic heteroaromatic groups of varying pK(a) were also synthesized, and their ability to inhibit HIV replication was evaluated. Replacing the pyridine moiety of the py[14]aneN(4) macrocyclic ring with pyrazine or pyridine groups substituted in the 4-position (with electron-withdrawing or -donating groups) either reduced antiviral potency or increased cytotoxicity to MT-4 cells. Finally, we synthesized a series of analogues in which the ring size of the bis-pyridyl macrocycles was varied between 12 and 16 members per ring including the py[iso-14]aneN(4) ring system, an isomer of the py[14]aneN(4) macrocycle. The p-phenylenebis(methylene)-linked dimer of the py[iso-14]aneN(4) (AMD3329) displayed the highest antiviral activity of the bis-azamacrocyclic analogues reported to date, exhibiting EC(50)'s against the cytopathic effects of HIV-1 and HIV-2 replication of 0.8 and 1.6 nM, respectively, that is, about 3-5-fold lower than the EC(50) of AMD3100. AMD3329 also inhibited the binding of a specific CXCR4 mAb and the Ca(2+) flux induced by SDF-1alpha, the natural ligand for CXCR4, more potently than AMD3100. Furthermore, AMD3329 also interfered with virus-induced syncytium formation at an EC(50) of 12 nM.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anti-HIV Agents / chemistry*
  • Anti-HIV Agents / pharmacology*
  • Benzylamines
  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Cell Line
  • Cyclams
  • Fura-2 / metabolism
  • HIV-1 / drug effects
  • HIV-1 / physiology*
  • HIV-2 / drug effects
  • HIV-2 / physiology*
  • Heterocyclic Compounds / chemistry*
  • Heterocyclic Compounds / pharmacology*
  • Heterocyclic Compounds, 2-Ring / chemical synthesis*
  • Heterocyclic Compounds, 2-Ring / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Models, Chemical
  • Receptors, CXCR4 / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Structure-Activity Relationship
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured
  • Virus Replication / drug effects*


  • Anti-HIV Agents
  • Benzylamines
  • Cyclams
  • Heterocyclic Compounds
  • Heterocyclic Compounds, 2-Ring
  • Receptors, CXCR4
  • plerixafor
  • Calcium
  • Fura-2