Structure-activity relationship of flavonoids as potent inhibitors of carbonyl reductase 1 (CBR1)

Yuki Arai, Satoshi Endo, Namiki Miyagi, Naohito Abe, Takeshi Miura, Toru Nishinaka, Tomoyuki Terada, Masayoshi Oyama, Hiroaki Goda, Ossama El-Kabbani, Akira Hara, Toshiyuki Matsunaga, Akira Ikari

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18 Citations (Scopus)


Human carbonyl reductase 1 (CBR1), a member of the short-chain dehydrogenase/reductase superfamily, reduces a variety of carbonyl compounds including therapeutic drugs. CBR1 is involved in the reduction of the anthracycline anticancer drugs to their less anticancer C-13 hydroxy metabolites, which are cardiotoxic. CBR1 inhibitors are thought to be promising agents for adjuvant therapy with twofold beneficial effect in prolonging the anticancer efficacy of the anthracyclines while decreasing cardiotoxicity, a side effect of the drugs. In this study, we evaluated 27 flavonoids for their inhibitory activities of CBR1 in order to explore the structure-activity relationship (SAR). Among them, luteolin (2-(3,4-dihydroxyphenyl)-5,7-dihydroxy-4H-1-benzopyran-4-one) showed the most potent inhibition (IC5095 nM), which is also more potent compared to all known classes of CBR1 inhibitors. The inhibition of luteolin was noncompetitive with respect to the substrate in the NADPH-dependent reduction direction, but CBR1 exhibited moderate NADP+-dependent dehydrogenase activity for some alicyclic alcohols, in which the luteolin inhibition was competitive with respect to the alcohol substrate (Ki59 nM). The SAR of the flavonoids indicated that the 7-hydroxy group of luteolin was responsible for the potent inhibition of CBR1. The molecular docking of luteolin in CBR1-NADPH complex showed that theflavonoid binds to the substrate-binding cleft, in which its 7-hydroxy group formed a H-bond with main-chain oxygen of Met234, in addition to H-bond interactions (of its 5-hydroxy and 4-carbonyl groups with catalytically important residues Tyr193 and/or Ser139) and a π-stacking interaction (between its phenyl ring and Trp229).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)51-56
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Carbonyl reductase
  • CBR1
  • Flavonoid
  • Luteolin
  • Structure-activity relationship

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