Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Pharmaceutical Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. Richard A. Glennon


Schizophrenia is a chronic psychotic illness affecting ~21 million people globally. Currently available antipsychotic agents act through a dopamine D2 receptor mechanism, and produce extrapyramidal or metabolic side effects. Hence, there is a need for novel targets and agents. The mGlu2/5-HT2A receptor heteromer has been implicated in the action of antipsychotic agents, and represents a novel and attractive therapeutic target for the treatment of schizophrenia. A long-term goal of this project is to synthesize bivalent ligands where a 5-HT2A receptor antagonist is tethered to an mGlu2 PAM via a linker.

The goals of the investigation were to study the SAR of risperidone (an atypical antipsychotic agent) at 5-HT2A receptors using a “deconstruction-reconstruction-elaboration” approach to determine the minimal structural features of risperidone that contribute to its 5-HT2A receptor affinity and antagonism, and to determine where on the “minimized risperidone” structure an mGlu2 PAM can be introduced. Additional goals included studying the binding modes of various mGlu2 PAMs and identifying where on an mGlu2 PAM a risperidone “partial” structure could be introduced.

Biological studies of deconstructed/elaborated analogs of risperidone suggest that the entire structure of risperidone is not necessary for 5-HT2A receptor affinity and antagonism, and that a fluoro group contributes to 5-HT2A binding. 6-Fluoro-3-(4-piperidinyl)-1,2-benz[d]isoxazole that has only half the structural features of risperidone retains 5-HT2A receptor affinity and antagonist activity, and represents the “minimized risperidone” structure with the piperidine nitrogen atom representing a potential linker site for eventual construction of bivalent ligands. Molecular modeling studies at 5-HT2A receptors suggest that risperidone and its analogs have more than one binding mode.

Modeling studies to evaluate binding modes of various PAMs at mGlu2 receptors, coupled with known SAR information, were used to identify a PAM (JNJ-40411813), and the pyridone nitrogen atom of JNJ-40411813 as a potential linker site. Additionally, potential synthetic routes for JNJ-40411813 were explored that might be of value in the synthesis of bivalent ligands.

Based on the structural features of 6-fluoro-3-(4-piperidinyl)-1,2-benz[d]isoxazole, a new pharmacophore for 5-HT2A receptor antagonists, consisting of one aromatic region, a basic protonated amine and hydrogen bond acceptors, has been proposed.


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