The membrane permeability of nucleotide-based drugs, such as sofosbuvir (Sovaldi), requires installation of phosphate-caging groups. One strategy, termed "ProTide", masks the anionic phosphate through an N-linked amino ester and an O-linked aromatic phospho-ester, such that release of the active drug requires consecutive enzymatic liberation by an esterase and then a phosphoramidase, such as Hint1. Because Hint1 is known to be selective for nucleotides, it was not clear if the ProTide approach could be deployed for non-nucleotides. Here, we demonstrate that caging of a phosphate-containing inhibitor of the prolyl isomerase Pin1 increases its permeability. Moreover, this compound was processed by both esterase and phosphoramidase activity, releasing the active molecule to bind and inhibit Pin1 in cells. Thus, Hint1 appears to recognize a broader set of substrates than previously appreciated. It seems possible that other potent, but impermeable, phosphate-containing inhibitors might likewise benefit from this approach.
PubMed: MeSH publication types
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