Author(s): Lee L, Abe A, Shayman JA
Abstract Share this page
Abstract Previous work has led to the identification of inhibitors of glucosylceramide synthase, the enzyme catalyzing the first glycosylation step in the synthesis of glucosylceramide-based glycosphingolipids. These inhibitors have two identified sites of action: the inhibition of glucosylceramide synthase, resulting in the depletion of cellular glycosphingolipids, and the inhibition of 1-O-acylceramide synthase, resulting in the elevation of cell ceramide levels. A new series of glucosylceramide synthase inhibitors based on substitutions in the phenyl ring of a parent compound, 1-phenyl-2-palmitoylamino-3-pyrrolidino-1-propanol (P4), was made. For substitutions of single functional groups, the potency of these inhibitors in blocking glucosylceramide synthase was primarily dependent upon the hydrophobic and electronic properties of the substituents. An exponential relationship was found between the IC50 of each inhibitor and the sum of derived hydrophobic (pi) and electronic (sigma) parameters. This relationship demonstrated that substitutions that increased the electron-donating characteristics and decreased the lipophilic characteristics of the homologues enhanced the potency of these compounds in blocking glucosylceramide formation. A novel compound was subsequently designed and observed to be even more active in blocking glucosylceramide formation. This compound, D-threo-4'-hydroxy-P4, inhibited glucosylceramide synthase at an IC50 of 90 nM. In addition, a series of dioxane substitutions was designed and tested. These included 3',4'-methylenedioxyphenyl-, 3',4'-ethylenedioxyphenyl-, and 3'4'-trimethylenedioxyphenyl-substituted homologues. D-threo-3', 4'-Ethylenedioxy-P4-inhibited glucosylceramide synthase was comparably active to the p-hydroxy homologue. 4'-Hydroxy-P4 and ethylenedioxy-P4 blocked glucosylceramide synthase activity at concentrations that had little effect on 1-O-acylceramide synthase activity. These novel inhibitors resulted in the inhibition of glycosphingolipid synthesis in cultured cells at concentrations that did not significantly raise intracellular ceramide levels or inhibit cell growth.
This article was published in J Biol Chem
and referenced in Journal of Glycomics & Lipidomics