Furan-based Inhibitors of Pyruvate Dehydrogenase: SAR Study, Biochemical Evaluation and Computational Analysis

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Chan, Alex HY 
Ho, Terence CS 
Parle, Daniel R 

Suppression of pyruvate dehydrogenase complex (PDHc) is a mechanism for cancer cells to manifest the Warburg effect. However, recent evidence suggests that whether PDHc activity is suppressed or activated depends on the type of cancer. The PDHc E1 subunit (PDH E1) is a thiamine pyrophosphate (TPP)-dependent enzyme, catalysing the first and rate-limiting step of PDHc; thus, there is a need for selective PDH E1 inhibitors. There is, however, inadequate understanding of the structure–activity relationship (SAR) and a lack of inhibitors specific for mammalian PDH E1. Our group have reported TPP analogues as TPP-competitive inhibitors to study the family of TPP-dependent enzymes. Most of these TPP analogues cannot be used to study PDHc in cells because (a) they inhibit all members of the family and (b) they are membrane-impermeable. Here we report derivatives of thiamine/TPP analogues that identify elements distinctive to PDH E1 for selectivity. Based on our SAR findings, we developed a series of furan-based thiamine analogues as potent, selective and membrane-permeable inhibitors of mammalian PDH E1. We envision that our SAR findings and inhibitors will aid work on using chemical inhibition to understand the oncogenic role of PDHc.


Acknowledgements: AHYC and TCSH were funded by K. M. Medhealth and DRP by an EPSRC studentship.

Animals, Thiamine, Thiamine Pyrophosphate, Structure-Activity Relationship, Pyruvate Dehydrogenase (Lipoamide), Diphosphates, Pyruvates, Pyruvate Dehydrogenase Complex, Mammals
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Organic and Biomolecular Chemistry
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Royal Society of Chemistry
EPSRC (2112389)
K. M. Medhealth