Human neutrophil elastase (HNE) is a potent serine protease belonging to the chymotrypsin family and is involved in a variety of pathologies affecting the respiratory system. Thus, compounds able to inhibit HNE proteolytic activity could represent effective therapeutics. We present here the synthesis of new thiazol-2-(3H)-ones as an elaboration of potent HNE inhibitors with an isoxazol-5-(2H)-one scaffold that we recently identified. Two-dimensional NMR spectroscopic techniques and tandem mass spectrometry allowed us to correctly assign the structure of the final compounds arising from both tautomers of the thiazol-2-(3H)-one nucleus (N-3 of the thiazol-2-(3H)-one and 3-OH of the thiazole). All new compounds were tested as HNE inhibitors, and no activity was found at the highest concentration used (40 µM), demonstrating that the thiazol-2-(3H)-one is not a good scaffold for HNE inhibitors. Molecular modelling experiments indicate that the low-energy pose might limit the nucleophilic attack on the endocyclic carbonyl group of the thiazolone-based compounds by HNE catalytic Ser195, in contrast to isoxazol-5-(2H)-one analogues.
- Human neutrophil elastase
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