Beesu M*, Caruso G*, Salyer AC*, Shukla NM, Khetani KK, Smith LJ, Fox LM, Tanji H, Ohto U, Shimizu T, David SA (2016) J. Med. Chem. 59:3311-30. [*co-first authors]

Pubmed: doi: 10.1021/acs.jmedchem.6b00023


Activation of human toll-like receptor-8 (TLR8), expressed in myeloid dendritic cells, monocytes, and monocyte-derived dendritic cells, evokes a distinct cytokine profile which favors the development of Type 1 helper T cells. Part-structures of the 2-aminobenzimidazole scaffold were examined with a view to identifying structural requisites corresponding to the smallest possible fragment of the benzimidazole core that would allow for retention of TLR8-agonistic activity. TLR8-specific agonistic activity was retained in 1-pentyl-4-phenyl-1H-imidazol-2-amine. The crystal structure of this compound bound to the TLR8 ectodomain displayed binding interactions that are common to other TLR8 agonists. This compound showed markedly attenuated proinflammatory properties in ex vivo human blood models. SAR studies revealed that 4-(2-(benzyloxy)phenyl)-1-pentyl-1H-imidazol-2-amine inhibited TLR signaling in a variety of TLR reporter cell lines, as well as in pharmacologically relevant human blood model systems. A kinase screen of this compound showed relative specificity for calmodulin kinases.