Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Pharmaceutical Sciences

First Advisor

Keith Ellis


The development of drugs and therapeutic agents for combating infections and human malignancies continues to be a forefront area in both academic and industrial research. This is driven by the rapid emergence of multi-drug resistant bacterial strains and accumulating mutations in cancer targets that is quickly rendering our current arsenal of drugs ineffective for these therapies. Unless new drugs with novel mechanisms of action are identified and developed at a faster pace, we face a losing battle in managing these diseases. The first part of this work concerns with the natural product Simocyclinone D8 (SD8). Simocyclinone D8 is an angucyclinone antibiotic that inhibits DNA gyrase with a novel mechanism of action that has been termed competitive inhibition. Simocyclinone D8 was found to inhibit the growth of both Gram-(+ve) and Gram-(–ve) organisms and also inhibit a fluoroquinolone resistant mutant of DNA gyrase. Inspired by the structure and novel mechanism of action that SD8 displays, we synthesized analogues based on the co-crystal structure of SD8 with DNA gyrase. These compounds were found to inhibit DNA gyrase, albeit by a different mechanism of action than that of SD8. We also conducted studies towards the total chemical synthesis of SD8 and made three out of the four fragments in SD8 in decent yields. The second part of this work is focused on the development of a substrate-competitive covalent inhibitor for protein kinase B (AKT). AKT is a valid target for cancer research with two compounds currently in late stage clinical trials. Developing substrate- competitive inhibitors for kinases is a novel approach in targeting them, with very few examples in the literature. This mechanism has been postulated to overcome common resistance mutations that cancer targets harbor. A major drawback in this approach is the low binding affinity for peptide substrates by kinases. We circumvented this problem of affinity by utilizing a covalent mode of binding and synthesized a potent non-peptide active-site directed irreversible compound that inhibits AKT. Further studies on this compound are underway and are expected to yield a compound that can be used as a therapeutic agent or as a probe for AKT.


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Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

May 2014