Optimization of chemical functionalities of indole-2-carboxamides to improve allosteric parameters for the cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB1).
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5-Chloro-3-ethyl-N-(4-(piperidin-1-yl)phenethyl)-1H-indole-2-carboxamide (1; ORG27569) is a prototypical allosteric modulator for the cannabinoid type 1 receptor (CB1). Here, we reveal key structural requirements of indole-2-carboxamides for allosteric modulation of CB1: a critical chain length at the C3-position, an electron withdrawing group at the C5-position, the length of the linker between the amide bond and the phenyl ring B, and the amino substituent on the phenyl ring B. These significantly impact the binding affinity (KB) and the binding cooperativity (). A potent CB1 allosteric modulator 5-chloro-N-(4-(dimethylamino)phenethyl)-3-propyl-1H-indole-2-carboxamide (12d) was identified. It exhibited a KB of 259.3 nM with a strikingly high binding of 24.5. We also identified 5-chloro-N-(4-(dimethylamino)phenethyl)-3-hexyl-1H-indole-2-carboxamide (12f) with a KB of 89.1 nM, which is among the lowest KB values obtained for any allosteric modulator of CB1. These positive allosteric modulators of orthosteric agonist binding nonetheless antagonized the agonist-induced G-protein coupling to the CB1 receptor, yet induced -arrestin mediated ERK1/2 phosphorylation.