Binding of natural and synthetic inhibitors to human heat shock protein 90 and their clinical application

Medicina (Kaunas). 2011;47(8):413-20. Epub 2011 Nov 18.


This review describes the recent progress in the field of heat shock protein 90 (Hsp90) inhibitor design. Hsp90 is a heat shock protein with a molecular weight of approximately 90 kDa. Hsp90 is considered a good anticancer target because its inhibition leads to inactivation of its numerous client proteins participating in various signaling and other processes involved in cancer progression. Numerous Hsp90 inhibitors-leads currently tested in clinical trials are presented in this review. Furthermore, this review emphasizes the application of biophysical binding assays in the development of Hsp90 inhibitors. The binding of designed lead compounds to various Hsp90 constructs is measured by isothermal titration calorimetry and thermal shift assay. These assays provide a detailed energetic insight of the binding reaction, including the enthalpy, entropy, heat capacity, and the Gibbs free energy. A detailed description of the binding energetics helps to extend our knowledge of structure-activity relationships in the design of more potent inhibitors. The most active compounds are then tested for their absorption, distribution, metabolism, elimination, toxicity, and activity against cancer cell lines.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Antineoplastic Agents / chemistry*
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacokinetics
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology
  • Calorimetry / methods
  • Drug Design*
  • Drug Screening Assays, Antitumor
  • Entropy
  • HSP90 Heat-Shock Proteins / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • HSP90 Heat-Shock Proteins / chemistry*
  • Humans
  • Ligands
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Protein Conformation


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • HSP90 Heat-Shock Proteins
  • Ligands