Discovery and Development of Small-Molecule Inhibitors of Glycogen Synthase

Buyun Tang, Mykhaylo S. Frasinyuk, Vimbai M. Chikwana, Krishna K. Mahalingan, Cynthia A. Morgan, Dyann M. Segvich, Svitlana P. Bondarenko, Galyna P. Mrug, Przemyslaw Wyrebek, David S. Watt, Anna A. Depaoli-Roach, Peter J. Roach, Thomas D. Hurley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The overaccumulation of glycogen appears as a hallmark in various glycogen storage diseases (GSDs), including Pompe, Cori, Andersen, and Lafora disease. Accumulating evidence suggests that suppression of glycogen accumulation represents a potential therapeutic approach for treating these GSDs. Using a fluorescence polarization assay designed to screen for inhibitors of the key glycogen synthetic enzyme, glycogen synthase (GS), we identified a substituted imidazole, (rac)-2-methoxy-4-(1-(2-(1-methylpyrrolidin-2-yl)ethyl)-4-phenyl-1H-imidazol-5-yl)phenol (H23), as a first-in-class inhibitor for yeast GS 2 (yGsy2p). Data from X-ray crystallography at 2.85 Å, as well as kinetic data, revealed that H23 bound within the uridine diphosphate glucose binding pocket of yGsy2p. The high conservation of residues between human and yeast GS in direct contact with H23 informed the development of around 500 H23 analogs. These analogs produced a structure-activity relationship profile that led to the identification of a substituted pyrazole, 4-(4-(4-hydroxyphenyl)-3-(trifluoromethyl)-1H-pyrazol-5-yl)pyrogallol, with a 300-fold improved potency against human GS. These substituted pyrazoles possess a promising scaffold for drug development efforts targeting GS activity in GSDs associated with excess glycogen accumulation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3538-3551
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Medicinal Chemistry
Issue number7
StatePublished - Apr 9 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Drug Discovery

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    Tang, B., Frasinyuk, M. S., Chikwana, V. M., Mahalingan, K. K., Morgan, C. A., Segvich, D. M., Bondarenko, S. P., Mrug, G. P., Wyrebek, P., Watt, D. S., Depaoli-Roach, A. A., Roach, P. J., & Hurley, T. D. (2020). Discovery and Development of Small-Molecule Inhibitors of Glycogen Synthase. Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, 63(7), 3538-3551.