Natural and synthetic histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors generally derive their strong binding affinity and high potency from a key functional group that binds to the Zn2+ ion within the enzyme active site. However, this feature is also thought to carry the potential liability of undesirable off-target interactions with other metalloenzymes. As a step toward mitigating this issue, here, we describe the design, synthesis, and structure−activity characterizations of cyclic α3β-tetrapeptide HDAC inhibitors that lack the presumed indispensable Zn2+-binding group. The lead compounds (e.g., 15 and 26) display good potency against class 1 HDACs and are active in tissue culture against various human cancer cell lines. Importantly, enzymological analysis of 26 indicates that the cyclic α3β-tetrapeptide is a fast-on/ off competitive inhibitor of HDACs 1−3 with Ki values of 49, 33, and 37 nM, respectively. Our proof of principle study supports the idea that novel classes of HDAC inhibitors, which interact at the activesite opening, but not with the active site Zn2+, can have potential in drug design.
A C S Medicinal Chemistry Letters, 2012, Vol 3, Issue 6, p. 505-508
HDAC inhibitors; zinc binding group; cancer therapy; tetrapeptide; apicidin