Comparison of quinazoline and benzoylpyrazoline chemotypes targeting the CaVα-β interaction as antagonists of the N-type CaV2.2 channel

Dongzhi Ran, Kimberly Gomez, Aubin Moutal, Marcel Patek, Samantha Perez-Miller, Rajesh Khanna

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Structural studies with an α subunit fragment of voltage-gated calcium (CaV) channels in complex with the CaVβ subunits revealed a high homology between the various CaVα-β subunits, predicting that targeting of this interface would result in nonselective compounds. Despite this likelihood, my laboratory initiated a rational structure-based screening campaign focusing on “hot spots” on the alpha interacting domain (AID) of the CaVβ2a subunits and identified the small molecule 2-(3,5-dimethylisoxazol-4-yl)-N-((4-((3-phenylpropyl)amino)quinazolin-2-yl)methyl)acetamide (IPPQ) which selectively targeted the interface between the N-type calcium (CaV2.2) channel and CaVβ. IPPQ (i) specifically bound to CaVβ2a; (ii) inhibited CaVβ2 ‘s interaction with CaV.2-AID; (iii) inhibited CaV2.2 currents in sensory neurons; (iv) inhibited pre-synaptic localization of CaV2.2 in vivo; and (v) inhibited spinal neurotransmission, which resulted in decreased neurotransmitter release. IPPQ was anti-nociceptive in naïve rats and reversed mechanical allodynia and thermal hyperalgesia in rodent models of acute, neuropathic, and genetic pain. In structure–activity relationship (SAR) studies focused on improving binding affinity of IPPQ, another compound (BTT-369), a benzoyl‐3,4‐dihydro‐1'H,2 H‐3,4'‐bipyrazole class of compounds, was reported by Chen and colleagues, based on work conducted in my laboratory beginning in 2008. BTT-369 contains tetraaryldihydrobipyrazole scaffold–a chemotype featuring phenyl groups known to be significantly metabolized, lower the systemic half-life, and increase the potential for toxicity. Furthermore, the benzoylpyrazoline skeleton in BTT-369 is patented across multiple therapeutic indications. Prior to embarking on an extensive optimization campaign of IPPQ, we performed a head-to-head comparison of the two compounds. We conclude that IPPQ is superior to BTT-369 for on-target efficacy, setting the stage for SAR studies to improve on IPPQ for the development of novel pain therapeutics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)128-135
Number of pages8
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2021


  • CaV alpha-beta interaction
  • N-type/CaV2.2 antagonists
  • PPIs
  • chronic pain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry


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