The recent discovery of c-Jun NH2-terminal kinase JNK1 suppression by natural quercetagetin (1) is a promising lead for the development of novel anticancer agents. Using both X-ray structure and docking analyses we predicted that 5'-hydroxy- (2) and 5'-hydroxymethyl-quercetagetin (3) would inhibit JNK1 more actively than the parent compound 1. Notably, our drug design was based on the active enzyme-ligand complex as opposed to the enzyme's relatively open apo structure. In this paper we test our theoretical predictions, aided by docking-model experiments, and report the first synthesis and biological evaluation of quercetagetin analogues 2 and 3. As calculated, both compounds strongly suppress JNK1 activity. The IC50 values were determined to be 3.4 μM and 12.2 μM, respectively, which shows that 2 surpasses the potency of the parent compound 1 (IC50 =4.6 μM). Compound 2 was also shown to suppress matrix metalloproteinase-1 expression with high specificity after UV irradiation.
Keywords: JNK1; drug design; flavonoids; inhibitors; synthetic drugs.
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