Design, synthesis, inhibition studies, and molecular modeling of pepstatin analogues addressing different secreted aspartic proteinases ofCandida albicans

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The family of secreted aspartic proteinases is known as an important virulence factor of yeast infections by Candida albicans in particular, which is the most common fungal pathogen for humans with respect to systemic disease. Due to the continuing increase of drug resistant strains, these proteinases are currently considered as promising drug target candidates. Based on the known Sap2-substrate specificity data and X-ray analyses of Sap/inhibitor complexes, three libraries of inhibitors were designed and synthesized by modifying the structure of pepstatin A, a common non-selective aspartic proteinase inhibitor, at the P3, P2, or P2′ position. These novel inhibitors showed high inhibitory potencies for the isoenzymes Sap1, Sap3, Sap5 and Sap6. Then, the affinity and selectivity of the peptide ligands were investigated by molecular modeling, highlighting new key structural information for the design of potent and selective anti-virulence agents targeting Candida albicans.

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