The aim of this study was to develop a method combining chiral separation and biophysical techniques to evaluate the enantioselective affinity of original sulfonamide derivatives towards their therapeutic target, the human carbonic anhydrase II (hACII). The first step consisted in the preparation of the enantiomers by chromatographic separation. The performances of HPLC and Supercritical Fluid Chromatography (SFC) were studied at the analytical scale by optimization of various experimental conditions using adsorbed polysaccharide chiral stationary phases (amylose AD-H and cellulose OD-H). Since SFC allowed obtaining higher enantioresolutions per time unit, it was selected for the semi-preparative scale and successfully used to isolate each enantiomer with a satisfactory enantiomeric purity (>98%).
Secondly, microscale thermophoresis (MST) method and surface plasmon resonance (SPR) used as reference method were developed to measure potential enantioselective affinities of these enantiomers towards the hACII. The optimizations of both methods were performed using a reference compound, i.e. acetazolamide, which affinity for hCAII has previously been demonstrated. For all compounds, KD values obtained using MST and SPR were in good agreement, leading to similar affinity scales despite both approaches totally differ (labeling for MST versus immobilization of the protein for SPR). The equilibrium dissociation constants of our original compounds for the hCAII were in the range 100–1000 nM and an enantioselectivity was observed using the MST and SPR methods for the diarylpyrazole 2. Finally, by comparing the MST and SPR techniques, MST appears especially adapted for further screening of a series of sulfonamide derivatives due to the lower time required to estimate a binding constant while consuming as little hCAII as SPR.