Survivin is a nodal protein involved in several cellular pathways. It is a member of the IAP family and an integral component of the chromosomal passenger complex, where it binds to borealin and INCENP through its dimerization interface. By targeting survivin with a small molecule at its dimerization interface, inhibition of the proliferation of cancer cells has been suggested. With Abbott 8, a small-molecule dimerization inhibitor has been recently reported. The structure–activity relationship of this series of inhibitors implied that the middle pyridin-2(1 H)-one ring did not tolerate modifications of any kind.
Based on the synthetic strategy of Abbott 8 using multicomponent reactions, we synthesized a series of small molecules bearing a novel rigidized core scaffold. This rigidization strategy was accomplished by integrating the pyridin-2(1 H)-one and its 6-phenyl substituent into a tricyclic structure, linking position 5 of pyridin-2(1 H)-one to the phenyl substituent by rings of different sizes. The new scaffolds were designed based on in silico molecular dynamics of survivin.
Binding of these rigidized scaffolds to the recombinant L54M mutant of survivin was evaluated, revealing affinities in the low micromolar range.