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Therapeutic Utility and Medicinal Chemistry of Cathepsin C Inhibitors

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The lysosomal cysteine protease cathepsin C (Cat C), also known as dipeptidyl peptidase I, activates a number of granule-associated serine proteases with pro-inflammatory and immune functions by removal of their inhibitory N-terminal dipeptides. Thus, Cat C is a therapeutic target for the treatment of a number of inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. Cathepsin C null mice and humans with Cat C loss of function mutations (Papillon-Lefevre syndrome) show deficiencies in disease-relevant proteases including neutrophil elastase, cathepsin G, chymases and granzymes and the Cat C mice are protected in a number of disease models. Several methodologies have been recently reported for assessing the effects of Cat C inhibitors on serine protease activities in cellular assays and prolonged treatment of rats with a reversible, selective Cat C inhibitor reduced the activity of three leukocyte serine proteases. Nearly all potent and selective Cat C inhibitors described are based on the preferred dipeptide substrates bearing either irreversible (e.g. diazomethylketone, acyloxymethyl ketone, o-acyl hydroxamic acid and vinyl sulfone) or reversible (e.g. semicarbazide, nitrile and cyanamide) electrophilic warheads. While potent and highly selective, the best inhibitors described to date still have poor stability and/or rodent pharmacokinetics, likely resulting from their peptidic nature. The lack of selective compounds with appropriate rodent pharmacokinetic properties has hampered the assessment of the effects of Cat C inhibitors on the activation of disease-relevant proteases in vivo and the full evaluation of the therapeutic utility of Cat C inhibitors.
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Keywords: Cathepsin C; dipeptidyl peptidase I

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of In vitro Sciences, Merck Frosst Centre for Therapeutic Research, P.O. Box 1005, Pointe-Claire-Dorval, Quebec H9R 4P8, Canada.

Publication date: May 1, 2010

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