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Mini reviews in medicinal chemistry

From nature to drug discovery: the indole scaffold as a 'privileged structure'.


PMID 19519503

Abstract

The indole scaffold probably represents one of the most important structural subunits for the discovery of new drug candidates. The demonstration that many alkaloids contain the indole nucleus, the recognition of the importance of essential amino acid tryptophan in human nutrition and the discovery of plant hormones served to bring about a massive search on indole chemistry, giving rise to a vast number of biologically active natural and synthetic products, with a wide range of therapeutic targets, such as anti-inflammatories, phosphodiesterase inhibitors, 5-hydroxytryptamine receptor agonists and antagonists, cannabinoid receptors agonists and HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors. Many of these target-receptors belong to the class of GPCRs (integral membrane G-protein coupled receptors) and possess a conserved binding pocket that is recognized by the indole scaffold in a "common" complementary binding domain, explaining the great number of drugs that contain the indole substructure, such as indomethacin, ergotamine, frovatriptan, ondansetron, tadalafil, among many others.

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48157 Indole solution, 2000 μg/mL in methanol, certified reference material