Bisdionin C-a rationally designed, submicromolar inhibitor of family 18 chitinases

ACS Med Chem Lett. 2011 Mar 23;2(6):428-32. doi: 10.1021/ml200008b. eCollection 2011 Jun 9.


Chitinases of the GH18 family play important roles in a variety of pathogenic organisms and have also been shown to be involved in human asthma progression, making these enzymes potential drug targets. While a number of potent GH18 chitinase inhibitors have been described, in general, these compounds suffer from limited synthetic accessibility or unfavorable medicinal-chemical properties, making them poor starting points for the development of chitinase-targeted drugs. Exploiting available structural data, we have rationally designed bisdionin C, a submicromolar inhibitor of GH18 enzymes, that possesses desirable druglike properties and tractable chemical synthesis. A crystallographic structure of a chitinase-bisdionin C complex shows the two aromatic systems of the ligand interacting with two conserved tryptophan residues exposed in the active site cleft of the enzyme, while at the same time forming extensive hydrogen-bonding interactions with the catalytic machinery. The observed mode of binding, together with inhibition data, suggests that bisdionin C presents an attractive starting point for the development of specific inhibitors of bacterial-type, but not plant-type, GH 18 chitinases.

Keywords: GH18 Chitinase; ligand design; xanthine.