On-resin N-methylation of cyclic peptides for discovery of orally bioavailable scaffolds

by White TR, Renzelman CM, Rand AC, Rezai T, McEwen CM, Gelev VM, Turner RA, Linington RG, Leung SS, Kalgutkar AS, Bauman JN, Zhang Y, Liras S, Price DA, Mathiowetz AM, Jacobson MP, Lokey RS

Backbone N-methylation is common among peptide natural products and has a substantial impact on both the physical properties and the conformational states of cyclic peptides. However, the specific impact of N-methylation on passive membrane diffusion in cyclic peptides has not been investigated systematically. Here we report a method for the selective, on-resin N-methylation of cyclic peptides to generate compounds with drug-like membrane permeability and oral bioavailability. The selectivity and degree of N-methylation of the cyclic peptide was dependent on backbone stereochemistry, suggesting that conformation dictates the regiochemistry of the N-methylation reaction. The permeabilities of the N-methyl variants were corroborated by computational studies on a 1,024-member virtual library of N-methyl cyclic peptides. One of the most permeable compounds, a cyclic hexapeptide (molecular mass = 755 Da) with three N-methyl groups, showed an oral bioavailability of 28% in rat…

September 25, 2011
Nature Chemical Biology
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