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Discovery of hydrazinobenzimidazole derivatives as Plasmodium falciparum inhibitors: Organic Synthesis, Biological Activity and Structure-Activity Relationships

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Guilherme Eduardo de Souza
Total Authors: 1
Document type: Master's Dissertation
Press: São Carlos.
Institution: Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Instituto de Física de São Carlos
Defense date:
Examining board members:
Rafael Victório Carvalho Guido; Arlene Gonçalves Correa; Celia Regina da Silva Garcia
Advisor: Rafael Victório Carvalho Guido; Anna Caroline Campos Aguiar

Malaria is the tropical disease with the highest overall mortality rate. The emergence of resistance to first-line therapies reinforces the need for the development of new drug candidates. The main goal of this work was the discovery and optimization of these molecules as lead candidates for the development of new antimalarial agents. In this sense, we screened Malaria Box collection and identified 11 molecules from different chemical classes as inhibitor candidates of Plasmodium falciparum enolase enzyme (Pfeno). Then, we determined the inhibitory potency against the target enzyme (IC50 between 11 – >1.000 μM), in vitro antiplasmodial activity against the erythrocytic form of the parasite (EC503D7 between 5,6–1.600 nM) and cytotoxicity (MCL50 > 19 μM) of the 11 compounds subset from Malaria Box (1–11). Combination with artesunate and stage of action assays were conducted to evaluate the potential of association and which erythrocytic stage would be more susceptible to the molecules of this subset. The results obtained indicate that some compounds showed additive (2 and 9) or antagonistic (1, 3–8, 10 and 11) effect with artesunate and fast (1–3, 5, 7, 9–11) or slow (4, 6 and 8) acting on parasite development. In view of these, a set of structural and biological activity criteria was established for the selection of a candidate for structure-activity relationship (SAR) studies. The hydrazinobenzimidazole derivative (4) was selected as hit and 24 derivatives (12–35) were designed, synthesized and had the enzyme inhibitory activity (IC50 between 44 – >200 μM), antiplasmodial activity against sensitive strains (EC503D7 between 0,19–14 μM) and resistant (EC50K1 between 0,15–2,4 μM) and cytotoxicity (MCL50 > 3,7 μM) determined in the first round of SAR. The collected data suggest that Pfeno is not the main target of the hydrazinobenzimidazole derivatives. However, the antiplasmodial activity of the series indicated a reasonable distribution in terms of potency and structural variability which allowed us the development of a HQSAR model (q2 = 0,64 and r2 = 0,93) suitable for the design and prediction of the inhibitory activity of eight new hydrazinobenzimidazole derivatives (36-43). The new derivatives were synthesized and had the antiplasmodial activity (EC503D7 between 0,10–2,3μM), cytotoxicity (MCL50 > 3 μM) and selectivity (SI > 5) evaluated. The prospective validation of the HQSAR model indicated good correlation between the actual and predicted activity for the new derivatives. Moreover, in the second round of SAR, compound 41 was discovered as the most potent (EC50 = 0,1 μM) and selective (SI > 2,000) in these series. Our results indicate that the hydrazinobenzimidazole derivatives are attractive molecules for the discovery of new lead compounds for the development of antimalarial drug candidates. (AU)

FAPESP's process: 16/09772-4 - Structural Biology and Medicinal Chemistry studies toward the discovery of new Plasmodium falciparum enolase inhibitors
Grantee:Guilherme Eduardo de Souza
Support type: Scholarships in Brazil - Master