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Predicting and improving the membrane permeability of peptidic small molecules

by Rafi SB, Hearn BR, Vedantham P, Jacobson MP, Renslo AR

We evaluate experimentally and computationally the membrane permeability of matched sets of peptidic small molecules bearing natural or bioisosteric unnatural amino acids. We find that the intentional introduction of hydrogen bond acceptor-donor pairs in such molecules can improve membrane permeability while retaining or improving other favorable drug-like properties. We employ an all-atom force field based method to calculate changes in free energy associated with the transfer of the peptidic molecules from water to membrane. This computational method correctly predicts rank order experimental permeability trends within congeneric series and is much more predictive than calculations (e.g., clogP) that do not consider three-dimensional conformation.

April 12, 2012
Journal of Medicinal Chemistry
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