Structure Property Relationships of Carboxylic Acid Isosteres

J Med Chem. 2016 Apr 14;59(7):3183-203. doi: 10.1021/acs.jmedchem.5b01963. Epub 2016 Mar 30.


The replacement of a carboxylic acid with a surrogate structure, or (bio)-isostere, is a classical strategy in medicinal chemistry. The general underlying principle is that by maintaining the features of the carboxylic acid critical for biological activity, but appropriately modifying the physicochemical properties, improved analogs may result. In this context, a systematic assessment of the physicochemical properties of carboxylic acid isosteres would be desirable to enable more informed decisions of potential replacements to be used for analog design. Herein we report the structure-property relationships (SPR) of 35 phenylpropionic acid derivatives, in which the carboxylic acid moiety is replaced with a series of known isosteres. The data set generated provides an assessment of the relative impact on the physicochemical properties that these replacements may have compared to the carboxylic acid analog. As such, this study presents a framework for how to rationally apply isosteric replacements of the carboxylic acid functional group.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Carboxylic Acids / chemistry*
  • Chemistry, Pharmaceutical
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Models, Molecular
  • Molecular Structure
  • Phenylpropionates / chemistry*
  • Plasma / chemistry*
  • Plasma / drug effects*
  • Structure-Activity Relationship


  • Carboxylic Acids
  • Phenylpropionates