Discovery, synthesis, and biological evaluation of novel SMN protein modulators

Jingbo Xiao, Juan J. Marugan, Wei Zheng, Steve Titus, Noel Southall, Jonathan J. Cherry, Matthew Evans, Elliot J. Androphy, Christopher P. Austin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

31 Scopus citations


Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is an autosomal recessive disorder affecting the expression or function of survival motor neuron protein (SMN) due to the homozygous deletion or rare point mutations in the survival motor neuron gene 1 (SMN1). The human genome includes a second nearly identical gene called SMN2 that is retained in SMA. SMN2 transcripts undergo alternative splicing with reduced levels of SMN. Up-regulation of SMN2 expression, modification of its splicing, or inhibition of proteolysis of the truncated protein derived from SMN2 have been discussed as potential therapeutic strategies for SMA. In this manuscript, we detail the discovery of a series of arylpiperidines as novel modulators of SMN protein. Systematic hit-to-lead efforts significantly improved potency and efficacy of the series in the primary and orthogonal assays. Structure-property relationships including microsomal stability, cell permeability, and in vivo pharmacokinetics (PK) studies were also investigated. We anticipate that a lead candidate chosen from this series may serve as a useful probe for exploring the therapeutic benefits of SMN protein up-regulation in SMA animal models and a starting point for clinical development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6215-6233
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Medicinal Chemistry
Issue number18
StatePublished - Sep 22 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Drug Discovery

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    Xiao, J., Marugan, J. J., Zheng, W., Titus, S., Southall, N., Cherry, J. J., Evans, M., Androphy, E. J., & Austin, C. P. (2011). Discovery, synthesis, and biological evaluation of novel SMN protein modulators. Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, 54(18), 6215-6233.