Pharmacological, Physiochemical, and Drug-Relevant Biological Properties of Short Chain Fatty Acid Hexosamine Analogues Used in Metabolic Glycoengineering

Christopher T. Saeui, Lingshu Liu, Esteban Urias, Justin Morrissette-Mcalmon, Rahul Bhattacharya, Kevin J Yarema

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


In this study, we catalog structure activity relationships (SAR) of several short chain fatty acid (SCFA)-modified hexosamine analogues used in metabolic glycoengineering (MGE) by comparing in silico and experimental measurements of physiochemical properties important in drug design. We then describe the impact of these compounds on selected biological parameters that influence the pharmacological properties and safety of drug candidates by monitoring P-glycoprotein (Pgp) efflux, inhibition of cytochrome P450 3A4 (CYP3A4), hERG channel inhibition, and cardiomyocyte cytotoxicity. These parameters are influenced by length of the SCFAs (e.g., acetate vs n-butyrate), which are added to MGE analogues to increase the efficiency of cellular uptake, the regioisomeric arrangement of the SCFAs on the core sugar, the structure of the core sugar itself, and by the type of N-acyl modification (e.g., N-acetyl vs N-azido). By cataloging the influence of these SAR on pharmacological properties of MGE analogues, this study outlines design considerations for tuning the pharmacological, physiochemical, and the toxicological parameters of this emerging class of small molecule drug candidates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)705-720
Number of pages16
JournalMolecular Pharmaceutics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 5 2018



  • carbohydrate drug design
  • hERG
  • metabolic oligosaccharide engineering
  • P450
  • Pgp efflux

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Drug Discovery

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