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Papers of the Week

Papers: 9 Jan 2021 - 15 Jan 2021

Animal Studies, Pharmacology/Drug Development

2021 Dec

Channels (Austin)



Comparison of quinazoline and benzoylpyrazoline chemotypes targeting the CaVα-β interaction as antagonists of the N-type CaV2.2 channel.


Ran D, Gomez K, Moutal A, Patek M, Perez-Miller S, Khanna R
Channels (Austin). 2021 Dec; 15(1):128-135.
PMID: 33416017.


Structural studies with an α subunit fragment of voltage-gated calcium (CaV) channels in complex with the CaVβ subunits revealed a high homology between the various CaVα-β subunits, predicting that targeting of this interface would result in nonselective compounds. Despite this likelihood, my laboratory initiated a rational structure-based screening campaign focusing on "hot spots" on the alpha interacting domain (AID) of the CaVβ2a subunits and identified the small molecule 2-(3,5-dimethylisoxazol-4-yl)-N-((4-((3-phenylpropyl)amino)quinazolin-2-yl)methyl)acetamide ( ) which selectively targeted the interface between the N-type calcium (CaV2.2) channel and CaVβ. (i) specifically bound to CaVβ2a; (ii) inhibited CaVβ2 's interaction with CaV.2-AID; (iii) inhibited CaV2.2 currents in sensory neurons; (iv) inhibited pre-synaptic localization of CaV2.2 ; and (v) inhibited spinal neurotransmission, which resulted in decreased neurotransmitter release. was anti-nociceptive in naïve rats and reversed mechanical allodynia and thermal hyperalgesia in rodent models of acute, neuropathic, and genetic pain. In structure-activity relationship (SAR) studies focused on improving binding affinity of , another compound (BTT-369), a benzoyl-3,4-dihydro-1'H,2 H-3,4'-bipyrazole class of compounds, was reported by Chen and colleagues, based on work conducted in my laboratory beginning in 2008. BTT-369 contains tetraaryldihydrobipyrazole scaffold – a chemotype featuring phenyl groups known to be significantly metabolized, lower the systemic half-life, and increase the potential for toxicity. Furthermore, the benzoylpyrazoline skeleton in BTT-369 is patented across multiple therapeutic indications. Prior to embarking on an extensive optimization campaign of , we performed a head-to-head comparison of the two compounds. We conclude that is superior to BTT-369 for on-target efficacy, setting the stage for SAR studies to improve on for the development of novel pain therapeutics.