SAR-mediated Similarity Assessment of the Property Profile for New, Silicon-Based AChE/BChE Inhibitors

Int J Mol Sci. 2019 Oct 29;20(21):5385. doi: 10.3390/ijms20215385.


A set of 25 novel, silicon-based carbamate derivatives as potential acetyl- and butyrylcholinesterase (AChE/BChE) inhibitors was synthesized and characterized by their in vitro inhibition profiles and the selectivity indexes (SIs). The prepared compounds were also tested for their inhibition potential on photosynthetic electron transport (PET) in spinach (Spinacia oleracea L.) chloroplasts. In fact, some of the newly prepared molecules revealed comparable or even better inhibitory activities compared to the marketed drugs (rivastigmine or galanthamine) and commercially applied pesticide Diuron®, respectively. Generally, most compounds exhibited better inhibition potency towards AChE; however, a wider activity span was observed for BChE. Notably, benzyl N-[(1S)-2-[(tert-butyldimethylsilyl)oxy]-1-[(2-hydroxyphenyl)carbamoyl]ethyl]-carbamate (2) and benzyl N-[(1S)-2-[(tert-butyldimethylsilyl)oxy]-1-[(3-hydroxyphenyl)carbamoyl]ethyl]-carbamate (3) were characterized by fairly high selective indexes. Specifically, compound 2 was prescribed with the lowest IC50 value that corresponds quite well with galanthamine inhibition activity, while the inhibitory profiles of molecules 3 and benzyl-N-[(1S)-2-[(tert-butyldimethylsilyl)oxy]-1-[(4-hydroxyphenyl)carbamoyl]ethyl]carbamate (4) are in line with rivastigmine activity. Moreover, a structure-activity relationship (SAR)-driven similarity evaluation of the physicochemical properties for the carbamates examined appeared to have foreseen the activity cliffs using a similarity-activity landscape index for BChE inhibitory response values. The 'indirect' ligand-based and 'direct' protein-mediated in silico approaches were applied to specify electronic/steric/lipophilic factors that are potentially valid for quantitative (Q)SAR modeling of the carbamate analogues. The stochastic model validation was used to generate an 'average' 3D-QSAR pharmacophore pattern. Finally, the target-oriented molecular docking was employed to (re)arrange the spatial distribution of the ligand property space for BChE and photosystem II (PSII).

Keywords: CoMSA; IVE-PLS; in vitro cholinesterase inhibition; molecular docking; silicon-based carbamates; similarity-activity landscape index.

MeSH terms

  • Binding Sites
  • Butyrylcholinesterase
  • Carbamates / chemistry*
  • Carbamates / pharmacology*
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Chloroplasts
  • Cholinesterase Inhibitors / chemistry*
  • Cholinesterase Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Electron Transport / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Inhibitory Concentration 50
  • Ligands
  • Molecular Docking Simulation
  • Photosystem II Protein Complex
  • Silicon / chemistry*
  • Spinacia oleracea
  • Structure-Activity Relationship
  • THP-1 Cells / drug effects


  • Carbamates
  • Cholinesterase Inhibitors
  • Ligands
  • Photosystem II Protein Complex
  • Butyrylcholinesterase
  • Silicon