Structure-activity relationships in toll-like receptor-2 agonistic diacylthioglycerol lipopeptides

Wenyan Wu, Rongti Li, Subbalakshmi S. Malladi, Hemamali J. Warshakoon, Matthew R. Kimbrell, Michael W. Amolins, Rehman Ukani, Apurba Datta, Sunil A. David

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Scopus citations


The N-termini of bacterial lipoproteins are acylated with a (S)-(2,3-bisacyloxypropyl)cysteinyl residue. Lipopeptides derived from lipoproteins activate innate immune responses by engaging Toll-like receptor 2 (TLR2) and are highly immunostimulatory and yet without apparent toxicity in animal models. The lipopeptides may therefore be useful as potential immunotherapeutic agents. Previous structure-activity relationships in such lipopeptides have largely been obtained using murine cells, and it is now clear that significant species-specific differences exist between human and murine TLR responses. We have examined in detail the role of the highly conserved Cys residue as well as the geometry and stereochemistry of the Cys-Ser dipeptide unit. (R)-Diacylthioglycerol analogues are maximally active in reporter gene assays using human TLR2. The Cys-Ser dipeptide unit represents the minimal part-structure, but its stereochemistry was found not to be a critical determinant of activity. The thioether bridge between the diacyl and dipeptide units is crucial, and replacement by an oxoether bridge results in a dramatic decrease in activity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3198-3213
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of medicinal chemistry
Issue number8
StatePublished - Apr 22 2010


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