Structure-based optimization of type III indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase 1 (IDO1) inhibitors

J Enzyme Inhib Med Chem. 2022 Dec;37(1):1773-1811. doi: 10.1080/14756366.2022.2089665.


The haem enzyme indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase 1 (IDO1) catalyses the rate-limiting step in the kynurenine pathway of tryptophan metabolism and plays an essential role in immunity, neuronal function, and ageing. Expression of IDO1 in cancer cells results in the suppression of an immune response, and therefore IDO1 inhibitors have been developed for use in anti-cancer immunotherapy. Here, we report an extension of our previously described highly efficient haem-binding 1,2,3-triazole and 1,2,4-triazole inhibitor series, the best compound having both enzymatic and cellular IC50 values of 34 nM. We provide enzymatic inhibition data for almost 100 new compounds and X-ray diffraction data for one compound in complex with IDO1. Structural and computational studies explain the dramatic drop in activity upon extension to pocket B, which has been observed in diverse haem-binding inhibitor scaffolds. Our data provides important insights for future IDO1 inhibitor design.

Keywords: Cancer immunotherapy; X-ray crystallography; structure-based drug design; tryptophan metabolism.

MeSH terms

  • Enzyme Inhibitors / chemistry
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Heme
  • Indoleamine-Pyrrole 2,3,-Dioxygenase*
  • Triazoles* / chemistry
  • Triazoles* / pharmacology


  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Indoleamine-Pyrrole 2,3,-Dioxygenase
  • Triazoles
  • Heme