The Significance of Chirality in Drug Design and Synthesis of Bitopic Ligands as D3 Receptor (D3R) Selective Agonists

J Med Chem. 2019 Jul 11;62(13):6287-6314. doi: 10.1021/acs.jmedchem.9b00702. Epub 2019 Jul 1.


Because of the large degree of homology among dopamine D2-like receptors, discovering ligands capable of discriminating between the D2, D3, and D4 receptor subtypes remains a significant challenge. Previous work has exemplified the use of bitopic ligands as a powerful strategy in achieving subtype selectivity for agonists and antagonists alike. Inspired by the potential for chemical modification of the D3 preferential agonists (+)-PD128,907 (1) and PF592,379 (2), we synthesized bitopic structures to further improve their D3R selectivity. We found that the (2S,5S) conformation of scaffold 2 resulted in a privileged architecture with increased affinity and selectivity for the D3R. In addition, a cyclopropyl moiety incorporated into the linker and full resolution of the chiral centers resulted in lead compound 53 and eutomer 53a that demonstrate significantly higher D3R binding selectivities than the reference compounds. Moreover, the favorable metabolic stability in rat liver microsomes supports future studies in in vivo models of dopamine system dysregulation.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Dopamine Agonists / chemical synthesis
  • Dopamine Agonists / chemistry*
  • Dopamine Agonists / metabolism*
  • Drug Design
  • HEK293 Cells
  • Humans
  • Indoles / chemical synthesis
  • Indoles / chemistry*
  • Indoles / metabolism*
  • Ligands
  • Microsomes, Liver / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Receptors, Dopamine D3 / metabolism*
  • Stereoisomerism
  • Structure-Activity Relationship


  • Dopamine Agonists
  • Indoles
  • Ligands
  • Receptors, Dopamine D3