Synthesis and biological evaluation of a novel series of curcumin-peptide derivatives as PepT1-mediated transport drugs

Authors: Zhang, Jiyun; Wen, Hongmei; Shen, Fei; Wang, Xinzhi; Shan, Chenxiao; Chai, Chuan; Liu, Jian; Li, Wei; Bioorganic Chemistry; (2019); 10.1016/j.bioorg.2019.103163

Curcumin (CUR) is a natural yellow pigment from turmeric with extensive bioactivities. However its relatively poor solubility limited its absorption and bioavailability. In this study, a novel series of CUR-peptide conjugates were designed and synthesized as PepT1-mediated transport drugs and their solubility, cellular uptakes and anti-tumor activities were evaluated. Ten compounds showed better water solubility than CUR due to the dipeptide moiety. Compared with CUR, compound 5e exhibited the slightly better activity and 5d showed the similar activity with CUR. Besides, compounds 5d and 5e performed higher cellular uptakes in Caco-2 cell and dose-dependently inhibited by the addition of PepT1 typical substrate glycylsarcosine (Gly-Sar). Compound 5d and 5e have improved the absorption of CUR by PepT1-mediated without affected the activity. These new dipeptide conjugates of CUR may serve as promising lead compounds for future drug development.