TMPRSS2 (transmembrane serine proteinase 2) is a multidomain type II transmembrane serine protease that cleaves the surface glycoprotein HA (haemagglutinin) of influenza viruses with a monobasic cleavage site, which is a prerequisite for virus fusion and propagation. Furthermore, it activates the fusion protein F of the human metapneumovirus and the spike protein S of the SARS-CoV (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus). Increased TMPRSS2 expression was also described in several tumour entities. Therefore TMPRSS2 emerged as a potential target for drug design. The catalytic domain of TMPRSS2 was expressed in Escherichia coli and used for an inhibitor screen with previously synthesized inhibitors of various trypsin-like serine proteases. Two inhibitor types were identified which inhibit TMPRSS2 in the nanomolar range. The first series comprises substrate analogue inhibitors containing a 4-amidinobenzylamide moiety at the P1 position, whereby some of these analogues possess inhibition constants of approximately 20 nM. An improved potency was found for a second type derived from sulfonylated 3-amindinophenylalanylamide derivatives. The most potent derivative of this series inhibits TMPRSS2 with a Ki value of 0.9 nM and showed an efficient blockage of influenza virus propagation in human airway epithelial cells. On the basis of the inhibitor studies, a series of new fluorogenic substrates containing a D-arginine residue at the P3 position was synthesized, some of them were efficiently cleaved by TMPRSS2.

You do not currently have access to this content.