Synthesis and Biological Evaluation of Imidamide Analogs as Selective Anti-trypanosomal Agents

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Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry


Human African trypanosomiasis is caused by a protozoan parasite Trypanosoma brucei majorly infecting people living in sub-Saharan Africa. Current limited available treatments suffer from drug resistance, severe adverse effects, low efficacy, and costly administrative procedures in African countries with limited medical resources. Therefore, there is always a perpetual demand for advanced drug development and invention of new strategies to combat the disease. Previous work in our lab generated a library of sulfonamide analogs as selective tubulin inhibitors, based on the structural difference between mammalian and trypanosome tubulin proteins. Further lead derivatization was performed in the current study and generated 25 potential drug candidates to improve the drug efficacy and uptake by selectively targeting the parasite's P2 membrane transporter protein with imidamide moiety. One of the newly synthesized analogs, compound 25 with a di-imidamide moiety, has shown greater potency with an IC50 of 1 nM to selectively inhibit the growth of trypanosome cells without affecting the viability of mammalian cells. Western blot analyses reveal that the compound suppressed tubulin polymerization in T. brucei cells. A detailed structure-activity relationship (SAR) was summarized that will be used to guide future lead optimization.


This research was supported by the grant National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Disease 2R15AI 103889-02 (B. Su), National Institutes of Health instrumental grant (1S10OD025252-01), and Center for Gene Regulation in Health and Disease (GRHD) of Cleveland State University.