The estrogen-related receptor γ (ERRγ) is a potential molecular target for the development of small molecules to stimulate the adipose browning process, which may represent a novel attractive strategy to treat obesity related disorders. The receptor possesses a very small ligand binding cavity and therefore identification of small molecule ERRγ modulators is a considerable challenge. We have successfully designed and synthesized a series of 1-benzyl-4-phenyl-1H-1,2,3-triazoles and demonstrated that they improve the transcriptional functions of ERRγ, potently elevating both the mRNA levels and the protein levels of ERRγ downstream targets. One of the most promising compounds, 4-(1-(4-iso-propylbenzyl)-1H-1,2,3-triazol-4-yl)benzene-1,2-diol (2e) was further shown to directly bind with the ERRγ ligand binding domain (ERRγ-LBD) in an isothermal calorimetric (ITC) assay and to thermally stabilize ERRγ-LBD protein by increasing its melting temperature (Tm) as demonstrated by circular dichroism (CD) spectroscopy. Furthermore, 2e potently stimulates the adipocyte browning process and induces mitochondrial biogenesis both in vitro and in vivo, suggesting the considerable therapeutic potential of this compound for the treatment of obesity and related disorders.
Keywords: Adipose browning; Drug design; Estrogen-related receptor γ; Triazole.
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