Year of Publication

2010

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Dissertation

College

Pharmacy

Department

Pharmaceutical Sciences

First Advisor

Kyung Bo Kim, Ph.D.

Abstract

Aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR) is a sensor protein, activated by aromatic chemical species for transcriptionally regulating xenobiotic metabolizing enzymes. AHR is also known to be involved in a variety of pathogenesis such as cancer, diabetes mellitus, cirrhosis, asthma, etc. The AHR signaling induced by xenobiotics has been intensively studied whereas its physiological role in the absence of xenobiotics is poorly understood. Despite a number of ligands of AHR have been reported thus far, further applications are still hampered by the lack of specificity and/or the partially agonistic activity. Thus, a pure AHR antagonist is needed for deciphering the AHR cryptic as well as potential therapeutic agent. The Proteolysis Targeting Chimera (PROTAC) is a bi-functional small molecule containing a ligand and proteolysis inducer. PROTAC recruits the target protein to proteolysis machinery and elicits proteolysis. Thus far, a number of PROTAC have been prepared and demonstrated to effectively induce the degradation of targeted protein in cultured cells, validating PROTAC as a useful research tool. In the present study, PROTACs based on apigenin was prepared and demonstrated to induce the degradation of AHR, providing the proof of concept. To improve activity, a synthetic structure, CH-223191, was optimized for antagonistic activity by positional scanning identifying several AHR antagonists. PROTACs based on the optimal structure were prepared and assessed their biological activity. The products and synthetic scheme described hereby will be helpful for the further understanding on AHR biology as well as for developing therapeutic agents targeting AHR.

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