Deconstruction of the α4β2 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor positive allosteric modulator desformylflustrabromine

J Med Chem. 2011 Oct 27;54(20):7259-67. doi: 10.1021/jm200834x. Epub 2011 Oct 3.


Desformylflustrabromine (dFBr; 1), perhaps the first selective positive allosteric modulator of α4β2 neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine (nACh) receptors, was deconstructed to determine which structural features contribute to its actions on receptors expressed in Xenopus ooycytes using two-electrode voltage clamp techniques. Although the intact structure of 1 was found to be optimal, several deconstructed analogs retained activity. Neither the 6-bromo substituent nor the entire 2-position chain is required for activity. In particular, reduction of the olefinic side chain of 1, as seen with 6, not only resulted in retention of activity/potency but in enhanced selectivity for α4β2 versus α7 nACh receptors. Pharmacophoric features for the allosteric modulation of α4β2 nACh receptors by 1 were identified.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Allosteric Regulation
  • Animals
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydrocarbons, Brominated / chemistry
  • Hydrocarbons, Brominated / pharmacology*
  • Indole Alkaloids / chemistry
  • Indole Alkaloids / pharmacology*
  • Oocytes / drug effects
  • Oocytes / physiology
  • Patch-Clamp Techniques
  • Receptors, Nicotinic / physiology*
  • Structure-Activity Relationship
  • Xenopus laevis


  • Hydrocarbons, Brominated
  • Indole Alkaloids
  • Receptors, Nicotinic
  • desformylflustrabromine
  • nicotinic receptor alpha4beta2