Structure-based design and synthesis of lipophilic 2,4-diamino-6-substituted quinazolines and their evaluation as inhibitors of dihydrofolate reductases and potential antitumor agents

J Med Chem. 1998 Aug 27;41(18):3426-34. doi: 10.1021/jm980081y.


The synthesis and biological activities of 14 6-substituted 2,4-diaminoquinazolines are reported. These compounds were designed to improve the cell penetration of a previously reported series of 2,4-diamino-6-substituted-pyrido[2,3-d]pyrimidines which had shown significant potency and remarkable selectivity for Toxoplasma gondii dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR), but had much lower inhibitory effects on the growth of T. gondii cells in culture. The target N9-H analogues were obtained via regiospecific reductive amination of the appropriate benzaldehydes with 2,4,6-triaminoquinazoline, which, in turn, was synthesized from 2,4-diamino-6-nitroquinazoline. The N9-CH3 analogues were synthesized via a regiospecific reductive methylation of the corresponding N9-H precursors. The compounds were evaluated as inhibitors of DHFR from human, Pneumocystis carinii, T. gondii, rat liver, Lactobacillus casei, and Escherichia coli, and selected analogues were evaluated as inhibitors of the growth of tumor cells in culture. These analogues displayed potent T. gondii DHFR inhibition as well as inhibition of the growth of T. gondii cells in culture. Further, selected analogues were potent inhibitors of the growth of tumor cells in culture in the in vitro screening program of the National Cancer Institute with GI50s in the nanomolar and subnanomolar range. Crystallographic data for the ternary complex of hDHFR-NADPH and 2,4-diamino-6-[N-(2', 5'-dimethoxybenzyl)-N-methylamino]pyrido[2,3-d]pyrimidine, 1c, reveal the first structural details for a reversed N9-C10 folate bridge geometry as well as the first conformational details of a hybrid piritrexim-trimetrexate analogue.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents* / chemical synthesis
  • Antineoplastic Agents* / chemistry
  • Antineoplastic Agents* / pharmacology
  • Cell Division / drug effects
  • Crystallography, X-Ray
  • Drug Design*
  • Drug Screening Assays, Antitumor
  • Escherichia coli / enzymology
  • Folic Acid Antagonists* / chemical synthesis
  • Folic Acid Antagonists* / chemistry
  • Folic Acid Antagonists* / metabolism
  • Folic Acid Antagonists* / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Liver / enzymology
  • Models, Molecular
  • Molecular Structure
  • NADP / chemistry
  • NADP / metabolism
  • Pneumocystis / enzymology
  • Pyridines / chemistry
  • Pyridines / metabolism
  • Pyridines / pharmacology
  • Pyrimidines / chemistry
  • Pyrimidines / metabolism
  • Pyrimidines / pharmacology
  • Quinazolines* / chemical synthesis
  • Quinazolines* / chemistry
  • Quinazolines* / pharmacology
  • Rats
  • Structure-Activity Relationship
  • Tetrahydrofolate Dehydrogenase / metabolism*
  • Toxoplasma / drug effects
  • Toxoplasma / enzymology
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • 2,4-diamino-6-(N-(2',5'-dimethoxybenzyl)-N-methylamino)pyrido(2,3-d)pyrimidine
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Folic Acid Antagonists
  • Pyridines
  • Pyrimidines
  • Quinazolines
  • NADP
  • Tetrahydrofolate Dehydrogenase