Tranylcypromine-Based LSD1 Inhibitors: Structure-Activity Relationships, Antiproliferative Effects in Leukemia, and Gene Target Modulation

Rossella Fioravanti, Annalisa Romanelli, Nicola Mautone, Elisabetta Di Bello, Annarita Rovere, Davide Corinti, Clemens Zwergel, Sergio Valente, Dante Rotili, Oronza A. Botrugno, Paola Dessanti, Stefania Vultaggio, Paola Vianello, Anna Cappa, Claudia Binda, Andrea Mattevi, Saverio Minucci, Ciro Mercurio, Mario Varasi, Antonello Mai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Abstract: LSD1 is a lysine demethylase highly involved in initiation and development of cancer. To design highly effective covalent inhibitors, a strategy is to fill its large catalytic cleft by designing tranylcypromine (TCP) analogs decorated with long, hindered substituents. We prepared three series of TCP analogs, carrying aroyl- and arylacetylamino (1 a–h), Z-amino acylamino (2 a–o), or double-substituted benzamide (3 a–n) residues at the C4 or C3 position of the phenyl ring. Further fragments obtained by chemical manipulation applied on the TCP scaffold (compounds 4 a–i) were also prepared. When tested against LSD1, most of 1 and 3 exhibited IC50 values in the low nanomolar range, with 1 e and 3 a,d,f,g being also the most selective respect to monoamine oxidases. In MV4-11 AML and NB4 APL cells compounds 3 were the most potent, displaying up to sub-micromolar cell growth inhibition against both cell lines (3 a) or against NB4 cells (3 c). The most potent compounds in cellular assays were also able to induce the expression of LSD1 target genes, such as GFI-1b, ITGAM, and KCTD12, as functional read-out for LSD1 inhibition. Mouse and human intrinsic clearance data highlighted the high metabolic stability of compounds 3 a, 3 d and 3 g. Further studies will be performed on the new compounds 3 a and 3 c to assess their anticancer potential in different cancer contexts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)643-658
Number of pages16
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Apr 3 2020


  • antiproliferative activity
  • drug discovery
  • histone demethylases
  • lysine specific demethylase 1
  • structure-activity relationships

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmacology
  • Drug Discovery
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)
  • Organic Chemistry


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