A 4'-C-ethynyl-2',3'-dideoxynucleoside analogue highlights the role of the 3'-OH in anti-HIV active 4'-C-ethynyl-2'-deoxy nucleosides.


4'-C-ethynyl-2'-deoxynucleosides belong to a novel class of nucleoside analogues endowed with potent activity against a wide spectrum of HIV viruses, including a variety of resistant clones. Although favorable selectivity indices were reported for several of these analogues, some concern still exists regarding the 3'-OH group and its role in cellular toxicity. To address this problem, we removed the 3'-OH group from 4'-C-ethynyl-2'-deoxycytidine (1a). This compound was chosen because of its combined high potency and low selectivity index. The removal of the 3'-OH was not straightforward; it required a different synthetic approach from the one used to synthesize the parent compound. Starting with glycidyl-4-methoxyphenyl ether, the target 4'-C-ethynyl-2',3'-dideoxycytidine analogue (rac-1h) was obtained after 13 steps. In a cellular assay, rac-1h was completely inactive (0.001-10 microM) against HIV(LAI), demonstrating the critical importance of the 3'-OH for antiviral activity. To determine whether the role of the 3'-OH was essential for the phosphorylation of the compound by cellular kinases or for inhibition of DNA polymerization, we synthesized and tested the 5'-triphosphate (rac-1h-TP) for its ability to inhibit HIV reverse transcriptase (RT). rac-1h-TP was slightly more potent than AZT-5'-triphosphate against wild-type HIV RT, suggesting that the role of the 3'-OH is crucial only for the activation of the drug by cellular kinases. The lipase-catalyzed resolution of rac-1h into ent-1h (beta-D-dideoxyribo) and ent-14 (beta-L-dideoxyribo) and the synthesis of the corresponding 5'-triphosphates established the stereochemical assignment based on HIV RT's preference for the beta-D-enantiomer, which was confirmed by assaying against the M184V variant, an RT mutant with a marked preference for incorporating nucleosides in the D-configuration.



Health/Disease, Nucleotide Analogs / Template Lesions, Nucleotide Incorporation


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