Design, Syntheses and Biological Activities of Paclitaxel Analogs

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Virginia Tech


The conformation of paclitaxel in the bound state on the protein has been proposed to be the T-taxol conformation, and paclitaxel analogs constrained to the T-taxol conformation proved to be significantly more active than paclitaxel in both cytotoxicity and tubulin polymerization assays, thus validating the T-taxol conformation as the tubulin-binding conformation. In this work, eight compounds containing an aza-tricyclic moiety as a mimic of the baccatin core of paclitaxel have been designed and synthesized as water-soluble simplified paclitaxel analogs, among which 3.50-3.52 and 3.55 were conformationally constrained analogs designed to bind to the paclitaxel binding site of tubulin, based on their similarity to the T-taxol conformation. The open-chain analogs 3.41-3.43 and 3.57 and the bridged analogs 3.50-3.52 and 3.55 were evaluated for their antiproliferative activities against the A2780 cell lines. Analogs 3.50-3.52 and 3.55 which were designed to adopt the T-taxol conformation showed similar antiproliferative activities compared to their open-chain counterparts. They were all much less active than paclitaxel. In the second project, a series of paclitaxel analogs with various thio-containing linkers at C-2′ and C-7 positions were designed and synthesized in our lab. These analogs were attached to the surfaces of gold nanoparticles by CytImmune Sciences for the development of mutifunctional tumor-targeting agents. The native analogs and the gold bound analogs were evaluated for their antiproliferative activities against the A2780 cell line. All the compounds tested showed comparable or better activities than paclitaxel. Stability studies were performed for selected analogs in hydrolysis buffer, which showed that the analogs released paclitaxel in buffer over time. In the third project, the synthesis of a conformationally constrained paclitaxel analog which was designed to mimic the REDOR-taxol conformation was attempted. Two synthetic routes were tried and significant progress was made toward the synthesis of the conformationally constrained analog. However, both of the current synthetic routes failed to produce the key intermediate that would serve as the precursor for a ring-closing metathesis reaction to furnish the macrocyclic ring.



T-taxol, tubulin, bioactive conformation, microtubules, thiolated paclitaxel, gold nanoparticles, conformationally constrained paclitaxel, simplified paclitaxel