Computational Evaluation of N-Based Transannular Interactions in Some Model Fused Medium-Sized Heterocyclic Systems and Implications for Drug Design

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As part of a project on fused medium-sized ring systems as potential drugs, we have previously demonstrated the usefulness of Density Functional Theory (DFT) to evaluate amine nitrogen-based transannular interactions across the central 10-membered ring in the bioactive dibenzazecine alkaloid, protopine. A range of related hypothetical systems have been investigated, together with transannular interactions involving ring-embedded imino or azo group nitrogens and atoms or groups (Y) across the ring. Electrostatic potential energies mapped onto electron density surfaces in the different ring conformations were evaluated in order to characterise these conformations. Unexpectedly, the presence of sp2 hybridised nitrogen atoms in the medium-sized rings did not influence the conformations appreciably. The strength and type of the N…Y interactions are determined primarily by the nature of Y. This is also the case when the substituent on the interacting nitrogen is varied from CH3 (protopine) to H or OH. With Y = BOH, very strong interactions were observed in protopine analogues, as well as in rings incorporating imino or azo groups. Strong to moderate interactions were observed with Y = CS, CO and SO in all ring systems. Weaker interactions were observed with Y = S, O and weaker ones again with an sp3 hybridised carbon (Y = CH2). The transannular interactions can influence conformational preferencing and shape and change electron distributions at key sites, which theoretically could modify properties of the molecules while providing new or enhanced sites for biological target interactions, such as the H or OH substituent. The prediction of new strong transannular interaction types such as with Y = BOH and CS should be helpful in informing priorities for synthesis and other experimental studies.

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University of Wollongong



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