Using the available structural information of the chemokine receptor CXCR4, we present hit finding and hit exploration studies that make use of virtual fragment screening, design, synthesis and structure-activity relationship (SAR) studies. Fragment 2 was identified as virtual screening hit and used as a starting point for the exploration of 31 N-substituted piperidin-4-yl-methanamine derivatives to investigate and improve the interactions with the CXCR4 binding site. Additionally, subtle structural ligand changes lead to distinct interactions with CXCR4 resulting in a full to partial displacement of CXCL12 binding and competitive and/or non-competitive antagonism. Three-dimensional quantitative structure-activity relationship (3D-QSAR) and binding model studies were used to identify important hydrophobic interactions that determine binding affinity and indicate key ligand-receptor interactions.
Keywords: 3D-QSAR; Antagonists; CXCR4 chemokine receptor; G protein-coupled receptors; Structure-activity relationship; Structure-based fragment virtual screening.
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