New thiol inhibitors of neutral endopeptidase EC synthesis and enzyme active-site recognition

J Med Chem. 1994 Jun 10;37(12):1865-73. doi: 10.1021/jm00038a016.


Selective, as well as mixed, inhibitors of the two zinc metallopeptidases, neutral endopeptidase (NEP) and angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE), are of major clinical interest in the treatment of hypertension and cardiac failure. New thiol inhibitors, corresponding to the general formula HS-CH(R1)-CH2-CH(R2)-CONH-CH(R3)-COOH, were designed in order to explore the putative S1 subsite of the active site of NEP. The inhibitors were also tested on ACE and the most representative on thermolysin (TLN) for comparison. The relatively low inhibitory potencies exhibited by these compounds (IC50S in the 10(-7) M range for NEP and in the 10(-6) M range for ACE) as compared to that of thiorphan (IC50S 2.10 x 10(-9) M on NEP and 1.40 x 10(-7) M on ACE) clearly indicate the absence of the expected energetically favorable interactions with the active site of both peptidases. A 100-fold loss of potency for these inhibitors was also observed for thermolysin as compared to thiorphan. Using the mutated Glu102-NEP, it was possible to demonstrate that the inhibitors do not fit the S1 subsite of NEP but interact with the S'1 and S'2 subsites through binding of their R1 and R2 residues and that the C-terminal amino acid is located outside the active site. These results seem to indicate that these thiol inhibitors are not well adapted for optimal recognition of the S1 subsite of NEP, and probably ACE, and that other zinc-chelating moieties such as carboxylate or phosphonate groups may be preferred for this purpose.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Binding Sites
  • Humans
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Neprilysin / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Neprilysin / metabolism
  • Rabbits
  • Substrate Specificity
  • Sulfhydryl Compounds / chemical synthesis
  • Sulfhydryl Compounds / metabolism
  • Sulfhydryl Compounds / pharmacology*


  • Sulfhydryl Compounds
  • Neprilysin