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A macrocyclic peptide scaffold with well-established structure-property relationship is desirable for tackling undruggable targets. Here, we adopted a natural macrocycle, cyclosporin O (CsO) and its derivatives (CP1-3), and evaluated the impact of conformation on membrane permeability, cyclophilin A (CypA) binding, and the pharmacokinetic (PK) profile. In nonpolar media, CsO showed a similar conformation to cyclosporin A (CsA), a well-known chameleonic macrocycle, but less chameleonic behavior in a polar environment. The weak chameleonicity of CsO resulted in decreased membrane permeability; however, the more rigid conformation of CsO was not detrimental to its PK profile. CsO exhibited a higher plasma concentration than CsA, which resulted from minimal CypA binding and lower accumulation in red blood cells and moderate oral bioavailability (F = 12%). Our study aids understanding of CsO, a macrocyclic peptide that is less explored than CsA but with greater potential for diversity generation and rational design.


Dongjae Lee, Sungjin Lee, Jieun Choi, Yoo-Kyung Song, Min Ju Kim, Dae-Seop Shin, Myung Ae Bae, Yong-Chul Kim, Chin-Ju Park, Kyeong-Ryoon Lee, Jun-Ho Choi, Jiwon Seo. Interplay among Conformation, Intramolecular Hydrogen Bonds, and Chameleonicity in the Membrane Permeability and Cyclophilin A Binding of Macrocyclic Peptide Cyclosporin O Derivatives. Journal of medicinal chemistry. 2021 Jun 24;64(12):8272-8286

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PMID: 34096287

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