Novel water-soluble prodrugs of acyclovir cleavable by the dipeptidyl-peptidase IV (DPP IV/CD26) enzyme

Authors: Diez-Torrubia, Alberto; Cabrera, Silvia; de Castro, Sonia; Garcia-Aparicio, Carlos; Mulder, Gwenn; De Meester, Ingrid; Camarasa, Maria-Jose; Balzarini, Jan; Velazquez, Sonsoles; European Journal of Medicinal Chemistry; (2013); 10.1016/j.ejmech.2013.10.001

We herein report for the first time the successful use of the dipeptidyl peptidase IV (DPPIV/CD26) prodrug approach to guanine derivatives such as the antiviral acyclovir (ACV). The solution- and solid-phase synthesis of the tetrapeptide amide prodrug 3 and the tripeptide ester conjugate 4 of acyclovir are reported. The synthesis of the demanding tetrapeptide amide prodrug of ACV 3 was first established in solution and successfully transferred onto solid support by using Ellman's dihydropyran (DHP) resin. In contrast with the valyl ester prodrug (valacyclovir, VACV), the tetrapeptide amide prodrug 3 and the tripeptide ester conjugate 4 of ACV proved fully stable in PBS. Both prodrugs converted to VACV (for 4) or ACV (for 3) upon exposure to purified DPPIV/CD26 or human or bovine serum. Vildagliptin, a potent inhibitor of DPPIV/CD26 efficiently inhibited the DPPIV/CD26-catalysed hydrolysis reaction. Both amide and ester prodrugs of ACV showed pronounced anti-herpetic activity in cell culture and significantly improved the water solubility in comparison with the parent drug.