Mathew Volgraf et al.
J Med Chem 2016
The N-methyl-d-aspartate receptor (NMDAR) is a Na(+) and Ca(2+) permeable ionotropic glutamate receptor that is activated by the coagonists glycine and glutamate. NMDARs are critical to synaptic signaling and plasticity, and their dysfunction has been implicated in a number of neurological disorders, including schizophrenia, depression, and Alzheimer's disease. Herein we describe the discovery of potent GluN2A-selective NMDAR positive allosteric modulators (PAMs) starting from a high-throughput screening hit. Using structure-based design, we sought to increase potency at the GluN2A subtype, while improving selectivity against related α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid receptors (AMPARs). The structure-activity relationship of channel deactivation kinetics was studied using a combination of electrophysiology and protein crystallography. Effective incorporation of these strategies resulted in the discovery of GNE-0723 (46), a highly potent and brain penetrant GluN2A-selective NMDAR PAM suitable for in vivo characterization.