Recently, we identified a novel class of potent cathepsin L inhibitors, characterized by a thiocarbazate warhead. Given the potential of these compounds to inhibit other cysteine proteases, we designed and synthesized a library of thiocarbazates containing diversity elements at three positions. Biological characterization of this library for activity against a panel of proteases indicated a significant preference for members of the papain family of cysteine proteases over serine, metallo-, and certain classes of cysteine proteases, such as caspases. Several potent inhibitors of cathepsin L and S were identified. The SAR data were employed in docking studies in an effort to understand the structural elements required for cathepsin S inhibition. This study provides the basis for the design of highly potent and selective inhibitors of the papain family of cysteine proteases.
Keywords: Thiocarbazates, cathepsin B, cathepsin S, cathepsin L, cysteine protease inhibitor, library
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