Synthesis of novel 5-substituted-2-aminotetralin analogs: 5-HT1A and 5-HT7 G protein-coupled receptor affinity, 3D-QSAR and molecular modeling

Charles K. Perry, Austen B. Casey, Daniel E. Felsing, Rajender Vemula, Mehreen Zaka, Noah B. Herrington, Meng Cui, Glen E. Kellogg, Clinton E. Canal, Raymond G. Booth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The serotonin 5-HT7 G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) is a proposed pharmacotherapeutic target for a variety of central and peripheral indications, albeit, there are no approved drugs selective for binding 5-HT7. We previously reported that a lead analog based on the 5-substituted-N,N-disubstituted-1,2,3,4-tetrahydronaphthalen-2-amine (5-substituted-2-aminotetralin, 5-SAT) scaffold binds with high affinity at the 5-HT7 GPCR, and can treat symptoms of autism in mouse models; subsequently, the lead was found to have high affinity at the 5-HT1A GPCR. Herein, we report the synthesis of novel 5-SAT analogs to develop a 3-dimensional quantitative structure—affinity relationship (3D-QSAR) at the human 5-HT7 receptor for comparison with similar studies at the highly homologous 5-HT1A receptor. We report 35 new 5-SAT ligands, some with very high affinity (Ki ≤ 1 nM) and stereoselectivity at 5-HT7 + or 5-HT1A receptors, several with modest selectivity (up to 12-fold) for binding at 5-HT7, and, several ligands with high selectivity (up to 40-fold) at the 5-HT1A receptor. 3D-QSAR results indicate that steric extensions at the C(5)-position improve selectivity for the 5-HT7 over 5-HT1A receptor, while steric and hydrophobic extensions at the chiral C(2)-amino position impart 5-HT1A selectivity. In silico receptor homology modeling studies, supplemented with molecular dynamics simulations and binding free energy calculations, were used to rationalize experimentally-determined receptor selectivity and stereoselective affinity results. The data from these studies indicate that the 5-SAT chemotype, previously shown to be safe and efficacious in rodent paradigms of neurodevelopmental and neuropsychiatric disorders, is amenable to structural modification to optimize affinity at serotonin 5-HT7 vs. 5-HT1A GPCRs, as may be required for successful clinical translation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number115262
JournalBioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 1 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • 2-aminotetralin
  • 3D-QSAR
  • 5-HTR
  • 5-HTR
  • Molecular modeling
  • Serotonergic receptor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Drug Discovery
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Organic Chemistry


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