Pyrimethamine analogs as strong inhibitors of double and quadruple mutants of dihydrofolate reductase in human malaria parasites.
- PubMed: 12929634
Pyrimethamine acts against malarial parasites by selectively inhibiting their dihydrofolate reductase-thymidylate synthase. Resistance to pyrimethamine in Plasmodium falciparum is due to point mutations in the DHFR domain, initially at residue 108 (S108N), with additional mutations imparting much greater resistance. Our previous work, the development of a simple rational drug design strategy to overcome such resistance, used suitable meta-substituents in the pyrimethamine framework to avoid the unfavorable steric clash with mutant side chains at position 108. Interestingly, the meta-chloro analog of pyrimethamine not only overcame the resistance due to S108N, but also that contributed by the more remote mutation, C59R. The present work improves on this by means of other meta-substituents. Against wild type DHFR, double mutant types A16V + S108T and C59R + S108T, and the highly pyrimethamine/cycloguanil-resistant quadruple-mutant form N51I + C59R + S108N + I164L, pyrimethamine itself gave Ki values of 1.5, 2.4, 72.3 and 859 nM, respectively. The meta-substituted analogs, especially the meta-bromo analog, were much more powerful inhibitors of these DHFRs, including the quadruple-mutant form (meta-bromo analog, Ki 5.1 nM). For comparison, the dihydropyrazine antifolate, WR99210, gave Ki values of 0.9, 3.2, 0.8 and 0.9 nM, respectively. Ki values were also measured against recombinant human DHFR, as were their activities against the growth of Plasmodium falciparum cultures bearing the double mutations (FCB and K1 strains) and quadruple mutation (V1/S) and the wild type (3D7). The meta-analogs were highly active against all of these, with the meta-bromo again being the strongest, having an IC50 of 37 nM against V1/S, compared to > 5000 nM for pyrimethamine itself and 1.1 nM for WR99210.