Synthesis and Testing of a Focused Phenothiazine Library for Binding to HIV-1 TAR RNA

Moriz Mayer, P. Therese Lang, Sabina Gerber, Peter B. Madrid, Irene Gómez Pinto, R. Kiplin Guy, Thomas L. James

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Scopus citations


We have synthesized a series of phenothiazine derivatives, which were used to test the structure-activity relationship of binding to HIV-1 TAR RNA. Variations from our initial compound, 2-acetylphenothiazine, focused on two moieties: ring substitutions and n-alkyl substitutions. Binding characteristics were ascertained via NMR, principally by saturation transfer difference spectra of the ligand and imino proton resonance shifts of the RNA. Both ring and alkyl substitutions manifested NMR changes upon binding. In general, the active site, while somewhat flexible, has regions that can be capitalized for increased binding through van der Waals interactions and others that can be optimized for solubility in subsequent stages of development. However, binding can be nontrivially enhanced several-fold through optimization of van der Waals and hydrophilic sites of the scaffold.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)993-1000
Number of pages8
JournalChemistry and Biology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2006

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by grant AI46967 from the National Institutes of Health and grant 02881-31-RG from the American Foundation for AIDS Research. P.T.L. wishes to acknowledge support from the Burroughs Wellcome Fund and the American Foundation for Pharmaceutical Education.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Pharmacology
  • Drug Discovery
  • Clinical Biochemistry


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