Identification of phosphinate dipeptide analog inhibitors directed against the Plasmodium falciparum M17 leucine aminopeptidase as lead antimalarial compounds

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Journal Article
Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, 2007, 50 (24), pp. 6024 - 6031
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Previous studies have pinpointed the M17 leucyl aminopeptidase of Plasmodium falciparum (PfLAP) as a target for the development of new antimalarials. This metallo-exopeptidase functions in the terminal stages of hemoglobin digestion and is inhibited by bestatin, a natural analog of Phe-Leu. By screening novel phosphinate dipeptide analogues for inhibitory activity against recombinant PfLAP, we have discovered two compounds, 4 (hPheP[CH 2]Phe) and 5 (hPheP[CH2]Tyr), with inhibitory constants better than bestatin. These compounds are fast, tight-binding inhibitors that make improved contacts within the active site of PfLAP. Both compounds inhibit the growth of P. falciparum in vitro, exhibiting IC50 values against the chloroquine-resistant clone Dd2 of 20-40 and 12-23 μM, respectively. While bestatin exhibited some in vivo activity against Plasmodium chabaudi chabaudi, compound 4 reduced parasite burden by 92%. These studies establish the PfLAP as a prime target for the development of antimalarial drugs and provide important new lead compounds. © 2007 American Chemical Society.
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