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Charge is the major discriminating factor for glutathione reductase versus trypanothione reductase inhibitors



Charge is the major discriminating factor for glutathione reductase versus trypanothione reductase inhibitors



Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry 4(8): 1247-1253



Benson et al. (Biochem. J. 1992, 286, 9) reported three novel competitive inhibitors of trypanothione reductase (TR), which were selected to complement a hydrophobic region identified on the TR structure which was not present on human glutathione reductase (hGR). Benson et al. also noted that chlorpromazine, a tricyclic antidepressant known to have trypanocidal activity, was an inhibitor of TR. Here we show that chlorpromazine is a competitive inhibitor of TRs from Crithidia fasciculata (Ki = 14 microM) and Trypanosoma cruzi (Ki = 10 microM), but the drug binds > 50-fold more weakly (Ki = 762 microM) to hGR. Analogues of chlorpromazine differing in the length of the side chain carrying the positively charged R-group are also selective TR inhibitors whereas, a tricyclic structure carrying a negatively charged side chain is a competitive inhibitor with selectivity for hGR (K(hGR)i = 165 microM vs. K(TR)i = 1400 microM). This finding suggests that simple charge characteristics, rather than differences in hydrophobicity, may account for a significant portion of the selectivity of this series of inhibitors for these two enzymes. Electrostatic analysis of the structures of TR and hGR thus provides a rationale for these results, and offers a new principle for inhibitor design. The principle gains further support from the observation that all known tricyclic competitive inhibitors of TR are positively charged. In order to investigate the in vivo relevance of our findings we have examined the effect of chlorpromazine and its negatively charged analogue on the growth of C. fasciculata parasites. Consistent with our kinetics, chlorpromazine (50 microM) inhibited the growth of parasites by 50%, while no measurable decrease in parasite growth rate was noted in the presence of the negatively charged inhibitor (400 microM). Furthermore, the highly similar inhibitory profiles of C. fasciculata TR and T. cruzi TR suggest that drug-design studies using the structurally better-studied C. fasciculata TR are also relevant to the human pathogen T. cruzi.

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Accession: 045495925

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PMID: 8879546

DOI: 10.1016/0968-0896(96)00120-4


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