• ABC transporters;
  • molecular modeling;
  • multidrug resistance;
  • peptide mimics;
  • P-glycoprotein


Multidrug resistance caused by ATP binding cassette transporter P-glycoprotein (P-gp) through extrusion of anticancer drugs from the cells is a major cause of failure in cancer chemotherapy. Previously, selenazole-containing cyclic peptides were reported as P-gp inhibitors and were also used for co-crystallization with mouse P-gp, which has 87 % homology to human P-gp. It has been reported that human P-gp can simultaneously accommodate two to three moderately sized molecules at the drug binding pocket. Our in silico analysis, based on the homology model of human P-gp, spurred our efforts to investigate the optimal size of (S)-valine-derived thiazole units that can be accommodated at the drug binding pocket. Towards this goal, we synthesized varying lengths of linear and cyclic derivatives of (S)-valine-derived thiazole units to investigate the optimal size, lipophilicity, and structural form (linear or cyclic) of valine-derived thiazole peptides that can be accommodated in the P-gp binding pocket and affects its activity, previously an unexplored concept. Among these oligomers, lipophilic linear (13) and cyclic trimer (17) derivatives of QZ59S-SSS were found to be the most and equally potent inhibitors of human P-gp (IC50=1.5 μM). As the cyclic trimer and linear trimer compounds are equipotent, future studies should focus on noncyclic counterparts of cyclic peptides maintaining linear trimer length. A binding model of the linear trimer 13 within the drug binding site on the homology model of human P-gp represents an opportunity for future optimization, specifically replacing valine and thiazole groups in the noncyclic form.