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3-(3-Pyridyl)-2-hydroxy-2-phosphonopropanoic acid (3-PEHPC, 1) is a phosphonocarboxylate (PC) analogue of 2-(3-pyridyl)-1-hydroxyethylidenebis(phosphonic acid) (risedronic acid, 2), an osteoporosis drug that decreases bone resorption by inhibiting farnesyl pyrophosphate synthase (FPPS) in osteoclasts, preventing protein prenylation. 1 has lower bone affinity than 2 and weakly inhibits Rab geranylgeranyl transferase (RGGT), selectively preventing prenylation of Rab GTPases. We report here the synthesis and biological studies of 2-hydroxy-3-imidazo[1,2-a]pyridin-3-yl-2-phosphonopropionic acid (3-IPEHPC, 3), the PC analogue of minodronic acid 4. Like 1, 3 selectively inhibited Rab11 vs. Rap 1A prenylation in J774 cells, and decreased cell viability, but was 33-60x more active in these assays. After resolving 3 by chiral HPLC (>98% ee), we found that (+)-3-E1 was much more potent than (-)-3-E2 in an isolated RGGT inhibition assay, approximately 17x more potent (LED 3 microM) than (-)-3-E2 in inhibiting Rab prenylation in J774 cells and >26x more active in the cell viability assay. The enantiomers of 1 exhibited a 4-fold or smaller potency difference in the RGGT and prenylation inhibition assays.

Original publication




Journal article


J med chem

Publication Date





3454 - 3464


Alkyl and Aryl Transferases, Bone Density Conservation Agents, Bone Resorption, Cell Line, Cell Survival, Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid, Enzyme Inhibitors, Etidronic Acid, Humans, Lactates, Organophosphonates, Organophosphorus Compounds, Osteoporosis, Protein Prenylation, Risedronic Acid, Stereoisomerism, rab GTP-Binding Proteins