Design, synthesis, evaluation, and SAR of 4-phenylindoline derivatives, a novel class of small-molecule inhibitors of the programmed cell death-1/ programmed cell death-ligand 1 (PD-1/PD-L1) interaction.

Affiliation

Yang Y(1), Wang K(2), Chen H(2), Feng Z(3).
Author information:
(1)Institute of Materia Medica, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences & Peking Union Medical College, Beijing, 100050, China; Beijing Key Laboratory of Active Substance Discovery and Druggability Evaluation, Institute of Materia Medica, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences & Peking Union Medical College, Beijing, 100050, China. Electronic address: [Email]
(2)Institute of Materia Medica, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences & Peking Union Medical College, Beijing, 100050, China; Beijing Key Laboratory of Active Substance Discovery and Druggability Evaluation, Institute of Materia Medica, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences & Peking Union Medical College, Beijing, 100050, China.
(3)Institute of Materia Medica, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences & Peking Union Medical College, Beijing, 100050, China; Beijing Key Laboratory of Active Substance Discovery and Druggability Evaluation, Institute of Materia Medica, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences & Peking Union Medical College, Beijing, 100050, China. Electronic address: [Email]

Abstract

The blockade of the PD-1/PD-L1 immune checkpoint pathway with small molecules is an emerging immunotherapeutic approach. A novel series of 4-phenylindoline derivatives were synthesized, and their inhibitory activity against the PD-1/PD-L1 protein-protein interaction (PPI) was evaluated through a homogenous time-resolved fluorescence (HTRF) assay. Among them, A20 and A22 exhibited potent activity with IC50 values of 17 nM and 12 nM, respectively. Furthermore, A20 showed the promising inhibitory activity against the PD-1/PD-L1 interaction with the EC50 value of 0.43 μM in a co-culture model of PD-L1/TCR Activator-expressing CHO cells and PD-1-expressing Jurkat cells. Besides, the structure-activity relationships (SAR) of the novel synthesized 4-phenylindoline derivatives was concluded, and the binding mode of A22 with the PD-L1 dimer was analyzed by molecular simulation and docking, demonstrating that the N-atom in the side chain of indoline fragment could interact with the amino acid residue of the PD-L1 protein to lead to the potent inhibitory activity. This study provided a new insight for further drug design.