Structural Insights into Azole-based Inhibitors of Heme Oxygenase-1: Development of Selective Compounds for Therapeutic Applications

Author(s): Mona N. Rahman, Dragic Vukomanovic, Jason Z. Vlahakis, Walter A. Szarek, Kanji Nakatsu, Zongchao Jia*.

Journal Name: Current Medicinal Chemistry

Volume 25 , Issue 42 , 2018

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The development of isozyme-selective heme oxygenase (HO) inhibitors promises powerful pharmacological tools to elucidate the regulatory characteristics of the HO system. It is already known that HO has cytoprotective properties with a role in several disease states; thus, it is an enticing therapeutic target. Historically, the metalloporphyrins have been used as competitive HO inhibitors based on their structural similarity to the substrate, heme. However, heme’s important role in several other proteins (e.g. cytochromes P450, nitric oxide synthase), results in non-selectivity being an unfortunate side effect. Reports that azalanstat and other non-porphyrin molecules inhibited HO led to a multi-faceted effort over a decade ago to develop novel compounds as potent, selective inhibitors of HO. The result was the creation of the first generation of non-porphyrin based, non-competitive inhibitors with selectivity for HO, including a subset with isozyme selectivity for HO-1. Using X-ray crystallography, the structures of several complexes of HO-1 with novel inhibitors have been elucidated and provided insightful information regarding the salient features required for inhibitor binding. This included the structural basis for non-competitive inhibition, flexibility and adaptability of the inhibitor binding pocket, and multiple, potential interaction subsites, all of which can be exploited in future drug-design strategies. Notably, HO-1 inhibitors are of particular interest for the treatment of hyperbilirubinemia and certain types of cancer. Key features based on this initial study have already been used by others to discover additional potential HO-1 inhibitors. Moreover, studies have begun to use selected compounds and determine their effects in some disease models.

Keywords: Heme, drug design, X-ray crystallography, azole, heme oxygenase-1, cytochromes P450.

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Article Details

Year: 2018
Page: [5803 - 5821]
Pages: 19
DOI: 10.2174/0929867325666180606082512
Price: $58

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