Modulation of the fibrillogenesis inhibition properties of two transthyretin ligands by halogenation

J Med Chem. 2013 Nov 27;56(22):9110-21. doi: 10.1021/jm401061w. Epub 2013 Nov 7.


The amyloidogenic protein transthyretin (TTR) is thought to aggregate into amyloid fibrils by tetramer dissociation which can be inhibited by a number of small molecule compounds. Our analysis of a series of crystallographic protein-inhibitor complexes has shown no clear correlation between the observed molecular interactions and the in vitro activity of the inhibitors. From this analysis, it emerged that halogen bonding (XB) could be mediating some key interactions. Analysis of the halogenated derivatives of two well-known TTR inhibitors has shown that while flufenamic acid affinity for TTR was unchanged by halogenation, diflunisal gradually improves binding up to 1 order of magnitude after iodination through interactions that can be interpreted as a suboptimal XB (carbonyl Thr106: I...O distance 3.96-4.05 Å; C-I...O angle 152-156°) or as rather optimized van der Waals contacts or as a mixture of both. These results illustrate the potential of halogenation strategies in designing and optimizing TTR fibrillogenesis inhibitors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Diflunisal / chemistry*
  • Diflunisal / metabolism
  • Diflunisal / pharmacology*
  • Flufenamic Acid / chemistry*
  • Flufenamic Acid / metabolism
  • Flufenamic Acid / pharmacology*
  • Halogenation*
  • Humans
  • Kinetics
  • Ligands
  • Models, Molecular
  • Prealbumin / chemistry*
  • Prealbumin / metabolism
  • Protein Multimerization / drug effects*
  • Protein Structure, Secondary
  • Structure-Activity Relationship


  • Ligands
  • Prealbumin
  • Flufenamic Acid
  • Diflunisal