Fragment-based discovery of 2-aminoquinazolin-4(3H)-ones as novel class nonpeptidomimetic inhibitors of the plasmepsins I, II, and IV


2-Aminoquinazolin-4(3H)-ones were identified as a novel class of malaria digestive vacuole plasmepsin inhibitors by using NMR-based fragment screening against Plm II. Initial fragment hit optimization led to a submicromolar inhibitor, which was cocrystallized with Plm II to produce an X-ray structure of the complex. The structure showed that 2-aminoquinazolin-4(3H)-ones bind to the open flap conformation of the enzyme and provided clues to target the flap pocket. Further improvement in potency was achieved via introduction of hydrophobic substituents occupying the flap pocket. Most of the 2-aminoquinazolin-4(3H)-one based inhibitors show a similar activity against digestive Plms I, II, and IV and >10-fold selectivity versus CatD, although varying the flap pocket substituent led to one Plm IV selective inhibitor. In cell-based assays, the compounds show growth inhibition of Plasmodium falciparum 3D7 with IC50 ∼ 1 μM. Together, these results suggest 2-aminoquinazolin-4(3H)-ones as perspective leads for future development of an antimalarial agent.

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Volume 59
Issue number 1
Pages 374-387
Available online
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