Para-substituted 2-phenyl-3,4-dihydroquinazolin-4-ones as potent and selective tankyrase inhibitors

Teemu Haikarainen, Jarkko Koivunen, Mohit Narwal, Harikanth Venkannagari, Ezeogo Obaji, Päivi Joensuu, Taina Pihlajaniemi, Lari Lehtiö

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Human tankyrases are attractive drug targets, especially for the treatment of cancer. We identified a set of highly potent tankyrase inhibitors based on a 2-phenyl-3,4-dihydroquinazolin-4-one scaffold. Substitutions at the para position of the scaffold′s phenyl group were evaluated as a strategy to increase potency and improve selectivity. The best compounds displayed single-digit nanomolar potencies, and profiling against several human diphtheria-toxin-like ADP-ribosyltransferases revealed that a subset of these compounds are highly selective tankyrase inhibitors. The compounds also effectively inhibit Wnt signaling in HEK293 cells. The binding mode of all inhibitors was studied by protein X-ray crystallography. This allowed us to establish a structural basis for the development of highly potent and selective tankyrase inhibitors based on the 2-phenyl-3,4-dihydroquinazolin-4-one scaffold and outline a rational approach to the modification of other inhibitor scaffolds that bind to the nicotinamide site of the catalytic domain. TNKS for the inhibitors: A tankyrase inhibitor scaffold was identified, and a set of analogues were assayed for tankyrase inhibition. As a result, several highly potent and isoenzyme-selective inhibitors were discovered. Crystal structures of the compounds in complex with tankyrase 2 allowed us to rationalize inhibitor design using this and other similar scaffolds.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1978-1985
Number of pages8
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Wnt signaling
  • inhibitors
  • structural biology
  • structure-activity relationships
  • tankyrase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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