Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Pharmaceutical Sciences

First Advisor

Yan Zhang


The chemokine receptor CCR5 (CCR5) plays an integral role within the inflammatory network of cells. Importantly, CCR5 is a mediator in several disease states and can be targeted using small molecule antagonists. Within this work, CCR5’s role in prostate cancer and HIV/AIDS has been exploited in order to develop potential therapeutics and probes. First, a series of novel compounds was designed by using pharmacophore-based drug design based upon known CCR5 antagonists and molecular modeling studies of the CCR5 receptor’s three-dimensional conformation. Once synthesized, these compounds were tested for their CCR5 antagonism and their anti-proliferative effects in several prostate cancer cell lines. The data from both the calcium mobilization studies and the anti-proliferation studies suggests that the compounds synthesized have activity as CCR5 antagonists and as anti-proliferative agents in certain prostate cancer cell lines. In addition, a bivalent ligand containing both a mu opioid receptor (MOR) and a CCR5 antagonist pharmacophore was designed and synthesized in order to study the pharmacological profile of the putative CCR5-MOR heterodimer and its relation with NeuroAIDS. The structural-activity relationship between the bivalent ligand and the heterodimer was studied with radio-ligand binding assays, functional assays, HIV-1 fusion assays, cell fusion assays, and in silico molecular dynamics. The subsequent bivalent ligand was proven to be a potent inhibitor in both an artificial cell fusion assay mimicking HIV invasion and a native HIV-1 invasion assay using live virus. In all, two novel sets of compounds were synthesized that targeted either CCR5 or the CCR5-MOR heterodimer. For the CCR5 antagonists, as leads for prostate cancer therapeutics, further work needs to be done to ascertain and develop their structure-activity-relationship. This library of novel compounds was shown as promising leads as CCR5 and anti-prostate cancer agents. The bivalent ligand targeting the CCR5-MOR heterodimer proved to be a potent and tissue-specific inhibitor for neuroAIDS where the known treatment, maraviroc, is less efficacious and fails to inhibit virus entry in the presence of morphine. Both projects illustrate the roles that CCR5 plays in these two unique diseases.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

June 2013