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Keywords:

  • conformational analysis;
  • NMP kinases;
  • nucleotides;
  • phosphonates;
  • ribonucleosides

Abstract

Nucleoside phosphonates have been designed as stable 5′-mononucleotide mimics and are nowadays considered a potent class of antiviral agents. Within cells, they must be metabolised to the corresponding diphosphate to exert their biological activity. In this process, the first phosphorylation step, catalysed by nucleoside monophosphate kinases (NMP kinases), has been proposed as a bottleneck. Herein, we report the synthesis of a series of ribonucleoside phosphonate derivatives isosteric to 5′-mononucleotides, with different degrees of flexibility within the 5′,6′-C[BOND]C bond, as well as different polarities, through the introduction of hydroxy groups. The influence of these modifications on the capacity of the compounds to act as substrates for appropriate human NMP kinases, involved in nucleic acids metabolism, has been investigated. Low flexibility, as well as an absence of hydroxy groups within the ribose–phosphorus architecture, is critical for efficient phosphotransfer. Among the series of pyrimidine analogues, one derivative was shown to be phosphorylated by human UMP-CMP kinase, with rates similar to those of dUMP and even better than dCMP.