Discovery of Novel Macrocyclic Hedgehog Pathway Inhibitors Acting by Suppressing the Gli-Mediated Transcription

Gang Liu, Wenjing Huang, Juan Wang, Xiaohua Liu, Jun Yang, Yu Zhang, Yong Geng, Wenfu Tan, Ao Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


A systemic medicinal chemistry campaign was conducted based on a literature hit compound 5 bearing the 4,5-dihydro-2H-benzo[b][1,5]oxazocin-6(3H)-one core through cyclization of two side substituents of the bicyclic skeleton combined with N-atom walking or ring walking and the central ring expansion or extraction approaches, leading to several series of structurally unique tricyclic compounds. Among these, compound 29a was identified as the most potent against the Hedgehog (Hh) signaling pathway showing an IC50 value of 23 nM. Mechanism studies indicated that compound 29a inhibited the Hh signaling pathway by suppressing the expression of the transcriptional factors Gli rather than by interrupting the binding of Gli with DNA. We further observed that 29a was equally potent against both Smo wild type and the two major resistant mutants (Smo D473H and Smo W535L). It potently inhibited the proliferation of medulloblastoma cells and showed significant tumor growth inhibition in the ptch±p53-/- medulloblastoma allograft mice model. Though more studies are needed to clarify the precise interaction pattern of 29a with Gli, its promising in vitro and in vivo properties encourage further profiling as a new-generation Hh signaling inhibitor to treat tumors primarily or secondarily resistant to current Smo inhibitors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8218-8245
Number of pages28
JournalJournal of medicinal chemistry
Issue number19
StatePublished - Oct 12 2017
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Drug Discovery


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