Potent, selective and cell penetrant inhibitors of SF-1 by functional ultra-high-throughput screening

Mol Pharmacol. 2008 Jun;73(6):1776-84. doi: 10.1124/mol.108.045963. Epub 2008 Mar 11.


The steroidogenic factor 1 (SF-1, also known as NR5A1) is a transcription factor belonging to the nuclear receptor superfamily. Whereas most of the members of this family have been extensively characterized, the therapeutic potential and pharmacology of SF-1 still remains elusive. Described here is the identification and characterization of selective inhibitory chemical probes of SF-1 by a rational ultra-high-throughput screening (uHTS) strategy. A set of 64,908 compounds from the National Institute of Health's Molecular Libraries Small Molecule Repository was screened in a transactivation cell-based assay employing a chimeric SF-1 construct. Two analogous isoquinolinones, ethyl 2-[2-[2-(2,3-dihydro-1,4-benzodioxin-7-ylamino)-2-oxoethyl]-1-oxoisoquinolin-5-yl]oxypropanoate (SID7969543) and ethyl 2-[2-[2-(1,3-benzodioxol-5-ylmethylamino)-2-oxoethyl]-1-oxoisoquinolin-5-yl]oxypropanoate and (SID7970631), were identified as potent submicromolar inhibitors, yielding IC(50) values of 760 and 260 nM. The compounds retained their potency in a more physiologic functional assay employing the full-length SF-1 protein and its native response element, yielding IC(50) values of 30 and 16 nM, respectively. The selectivity of these isoquinolinones was confirmed via transactivation-based functional assays for RAR-related orphan receptor A (RORA), Herpes simplex virus transcriptional activator protein Vmw65 (VP16), and liver receptor homolog 1 (LRH-1). Their cytotoxicity, solubility, permeability and metabolic stability were also measured. These isoquinolinones represent valuable chemical probes to investigate the therapeutic potential of SF-1.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • CHO Cells
  • Cricetinae
  • Cricetulus
  • Dogs
  • Haplorhini
  • Humans
  • Isoquinolines / chemistry
  • Isoquinolines / pharmacology
  • Mice
  • Rats
  • Small Molecule Libraries / chemistry
  • Small Molecule Libraries / pharmacology*
  • Steroidogenic Factor 1 / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Steroidogenic Factor 1 / metabolism*


  • Isoquinolines
  • Small Molecule Libraries
  • Steroidogenic Factor 1