Autotaxin (ATX) is an extracellular enzyme that hydrolyzes lysophosphatidylcholine (LPC) to produce the lipid mediator lysophosphatidic acid (LPA). The ATX-LPA signaling axis has been implicated in diverse physiological and pathological processes, including vascular development, inflammation, fibrotic disease, and tumor progression. Therefore, targeting ATX with small molecule inhibitors is an attractive therapeutic strategy. We recently reported that 2,4-thiazolidinediones inhibit ATX activity in the micromolar range. Interestingly, inhibitory potency was dramatically increased by introduction of a boronic acid moiety, designed to target the active site threonine in ATX. Here we report on the discovery and further optimization of boronic acid based ATX inhibitors. The most potent of these compounds inhibits ATX-mediated LPC hydrolysis in the nanomolar range (IC50 = 6 nM). The finding that ATX can be targeted by boronic acids may aid the development of ATX inhibitors for therapeutic use.

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Journal of Medicinal Chemistry
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Albers, H., van Meeteren, L., Egan, D., van Tilburg, E., Moolenaar, W., & Ovaa, H. (2010). Discovery and optimization of boronic acid based inhibitors of Autotaxin. Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, 53(13), 4958–4967. doi:10.1021/jm1005012