• Energy‐Coupling Factor Transporters as Novel Antimicrobial Targets

      Bousis, Spyridon; Diamanti, Eleonora; Slotboom, Dirk J.; Hirsch, Anna K. H.; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (Wiley-Blackwell, 2019-02)
      In an attempt to find new antibiotics, novel ways of interfering with important biological functions should be explored, especially with those which are necessary or even irreplaceable for bacterial survival, growth, and virulence. The purpose of this review is to highlight B‐type vitamin transporters from the energy‐coupling factor (ECF) family, which are not present in humans, as potential antimicrobial targets. In addition, a druggability analysis of an ECF transporter for folic acid and sequence‐conservation studies in seven prominent pathogens revealed new druggable pockets. Evaluation of the presence of de novo biosynthetic routes for the vitamins in question in the seven pathogens confirmed that this target class holds promise for the discovery of antimicrobial drugs with a new mechanism of action, possibly on a broad‐spectrum level.
    • Enhancing glycan stabilityviasite-selective fluorination: modulating substrate orientation by molecular design

      Axer, Alexander; Jumde, Ravindra P.; Adam, Sebastian; Faust, Andreas; Schäfers, Michael; Fobker, Manfred; Koehnke, Jesko; Hirsch, Anna K.H.; Gilmour, Ryan; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (Royal Chemistry Society (RCS), 2021-01-28)
      ingle site OH → F substitution at the termini of maltotetraose leads to significantly improved hydrolytic stability towards α-amylase and α-glucosidase relative to the natural compound. To explore the effect of molecular editing, selectively modified oligosaccharides were preparedviaa convergent α-selective strategy. Incubation experiments in purified α-amylase and α-glucosidase, and in human and murine blood serum, provide insight into the influence of fluorine on the hydrolytic stability of these clinically important scaffolds. Enhancements ofca. 1 order of magnitude result from these subtle single point mutations. Modification at the monosaccharide furthest from the probable enzymatic cleavage termini leads to the greatest improvement in stability. In the case of α-amylase, docking studies revealed that retentive C2-fluorination at the reducing end inverts the orientation in which the substrate is bound. A co-crystal structure of human α-amylase revealed maltose units bound at the active-site. In view of the evolving popularity of C(sp3)-F bioisosteres in medicinal chemistry, and the importance of maltodextrins in bacterial imaging, this discovery begins to reconcile the information-rich nature of carbohydrates with their intrinsic hydrolytic vulnerabilities. © The Royal Society of Chemistry 2020.
    • Evaluation of Bacterial RNA Polymerase Inhibitors in a -Based Wound Infection Model in SKH1 Mice.

      Haupenthal, Jörg; Kautz, Yannik; Elgaher, Walid A M; Pätzold, Linda; Röhrig, Teresa; Laschke, Matthias W; Tschernig, Thomas; Hirsch, Anna K H; Molodtsov, Vadim; Murakami, Katsuhiko S; et al. (American Chemical Society (ACS), 2020-09-21)
      Chronic wounds infected with pathogens such as Staphylococcus aureus represent a worldwide health concern, especially in patients with a compromised immune system. As antimicrobial resistance has become an immense global problem, novel antibiotics are urgently needed. One strategy to overcome this threatening situation is the search for drugs targeting novel binding sites on essential and validated enzymes such as the bacterial RNA polymerase (RNAP). In this work, we describe the establishment of an in vivo wound infection model based on the pathogen S. aureus and hairless Crl:SKH1-Hrhr (SKH1) mice. The model proved to be a valuable preclinical tool to study selected RNAP inhibitors after topical application. While rifampicin showed a reduction in the loss of body weight induced by the bacteria, an acceleration of wound healing kinetics, and a reduced number of colony forming units in the wound, the ureidothiophene-2-carboxylic acid 1 was inactive under in vivo conditions, probably due to strong plasma protein binding. The cocrystal structure of compound 1 with RNAP, that we hereby also present, will be of great value for applying appropriate structural modifications to further optimize the compound, especially in terms of plasma protein binding.
    • Expanding the Myxochelin Natural Product Family by Nicotinic Acid Containing Congeners.

      Frank, Nicolas A; Széles, Márió; Akone, Sergi H; Rasheed, Sari; Hüttel, Stephan; Frewert, Simon; Hamed, Mostafa M; Herrmann, Jennifer; Schuler, Sören M M; Hirsch, Anna K H; et al. (MDPI, 2021-08-14)
      Myxobacteria represent a viable source of chemically diverse and biologically active secondary metabolites. The myxochelins are a well-studied family of catecholate-type siderophores produced by various myxobacterial strains. Here, we report the discovery, isolation, and structure elucidation of three new myxochelins N1-N3 from the terrestrial myxobacterium Corallococcus sp. MCy9049, featuring an unusual nicotinic acid moiety. Precursor-directed biosynthesis (PDB) experiments and total synthesis were performed in order to confirm structures, improve access to pure compounds for bioactivity testing, and to devise a biosynthesis proposal. The combined evaluation of metabolome and genome data covering myxobacteria supports the notion that the new myxochelin congeners reported here are in fact frequent side products of the known myxochelin A biosynthetic pathway in myxobacteria.
    • Expanding the scaffold for bacterial RNA polymerase inhibitors: design, synthesis and structure–activity relationships of ureido-heterocyclic-carboxylic acids

      Elgaher, Walid A. M.; Fruth, Martina; Groh, Matthias; Haupenthal, Jörg; Hartmann, Rolf W.; Department of Drug Design and Optimization, Helmholtz Institute for Pharmaceutical Research Saarland (HIPS), Campus C2.3, Saarland University, 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany (2014-01-22)
    • Exploration of ligand binding modes towards the identification of compounds targeting HuR: a combined STD-NMR and Molecular Modelling approach.

      Vasile, Francesca; Della Volpe, Serena; Ambrosio, Francesca Alessandra; Costa, Giosuè; Unver, M Yagiz; Zucal, Chiara; Rossi, Daniela; Martino, Emanuela; Provenzani, Alessandro; Hirsch, Anna K H; et al. (2018-09-13)
      Post-transcriptional processes have been recognised as pivotal in the control of gene expression, and impairments in RNA processing are reported in several pathologies (i.e., cancer and neurodegeneration). Focusing on RNA-binding proteins (RBPs), the involvement of Embryonic Lethal Abnormal Vision (ELAV) or Hu proteins and their complexes with target mRNAs in the aetiology of various dysfunctions, has suggested the great potential of compounds able to interfere with the complex stability as an innovative pharmacological strategy for the treatment of numerous diseases. Here, we present a rational follow-up investigation of the interaction between ELAV isoform HuR and structurally-related compounds (i.e., flavonoids and coumarins), naturally decorated with different functional groups, by means of STD-NMR and Molecular Modelling. Our results represent the foundation for the development of potent and selective ligands able to interfere with ELAV-RNA complexes.
    • Exploring the chemical space of ureidothiophene-2-carboxylic acids as inhibitors of the quorum sensing enzyme PqsD from Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

      Sahner, J Henning; Empting, Martin; Kamal, Ahmed; Weidel, Elisabeth; Groh, Matthias; Börger, Carsten; Hartmann, Rolf W; Pharmaceutical and Medicinal Chemistry, Saarland University & Helmholtz Institute for Pharmaceutical Research Saarland (HIPS), Department of Drug Design and Optimization, Campus C2 3, 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (2015-05-26)
      Pseudomonas aeruginosa employs a quorum sensing (QS) communication system that makes use of small diffusible molecules. Among other effects, the QS system coordinates the formation of biofilm which decisively contributes to difficulties in the therapy of Pseudomonas infections. The present work deals with the structure-activity exploration of ureidothiophene-2-carboxylic acids as inhibitors of PqsD, a key enzyme in the biosynthetic pathway of signal molecules in the Pseudomonas QS system. We describe an improvement of the inhibitory activity by successfully combining features from two different PqsD inhibitor classes. Furthermore the functional groups, which are responsible for the inhibitory potency, were identified. Moreover, the inability of the new inhibitors, to prevent signal molecule formation in whole cell assays, is discussed.
    • Extracellular vesicles protect glucuronidase model enzymes during freeze-drying.

      Frank, Julia; Richter, Maximilian; de Rossi, Chiara; Lehr, Claus-Michael; Fuhrmann, Kathrin; Fuhrmann, Gregor; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus 8.1, 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (2018-08-17)
      Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are natural nanoparticles that play important roles in intercellular communication and are increasingly studied for biosignalling, pathogenesis and therapy. Nevertheless, little is known about optimal conditions for their transfer and storage, and the potential impact on preserving EV-loaded cargoes. We present the first comprehensive stability assessment of different widely available types of EVs during various storage conditions including -80 °C, 4 °C, room temperature, and freeze-drying (lyophilisation). Lyophilisation of EVs would allow easy handling at room temperature and thus significantly enhance their expanded investigation. A model enzyme, β-glucuronidase, was loaded into different types of EVs derived from mesenchymal stem cells, endothelial cells and cancer cells. Using asymmetric flow field-flow fractionation we proved that the model enzyme is indeed stably encapsulated into EVs. When assessing enzyme activity as indicator for EV stability, and in comparison to liposomes, we show that EVs are intrinsically stable during lyophilisation, an effect further enhanced by cryoprotectants. Our findings provide new insight for exploring lyophilisation as a novel storage modality and we create an important basis for standardised and advanced EV applications in biomedical research.
    • Finding New Molecular Targets of Familiar Natural Products Using In Silico Target Prediction.

      Mayr, Fabian; Möller, Gabriele; Garscha, Ulrike; Fischer, Jana; Rodríguez Castaño, Patricia; Inderbinen, Silvia G; Temml, Veronika; Waltenberger, Birgit; Schwaiger, Stefan; Hartmann, Rolf W; et al. (MDPI, 2020-09-26)
      Natural products comprise a rich reservoir for innovative drug leads and are a constant source of bioactive compounds. To find pharmacological targets for new or already known natural products using modern computer-aided methods is a current endeavor in drug discovery. Nature's treasures, however, could be used more effectively. Yet, reliable pipelines for the large-scale target prediction of natural products are still rare. We developed an in silico workflow consisting of four independent, stand-alone target prediction tools and evaluated its performance on dihydrochalcones (DHCs)-a well-known class of natural products. Thereby, we revealed four previously unreported protein targets for DHCs, namely 5-lipoxygenase, cyclooxygenase-1, 17β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase 3, and aldo-keto reductase 1C3. Moreover, we provide a thorough strategy on how to perform computational target predictions and guidance on using the respective tools.
    • Flexible Fragment Growing Boosts Potency of Quorum Sensing Inhibitors against Pseudomonas aeruginosa Virulence.

      Zender, Michael; Witzgall, Florian; Kiefer, Alexander Felix; Kirsch, Benjamin; Maurer, Christine K; Kany, Andreas M; Xu, Ningna; Schmelz, Stefan; Börger, Carsten; Blankenfeldt, Wulf; et al. (Wiley-VCH, 2019-11-11)
      Hit-to-lead optimization is a critical phase in drug discovery. Herein, we report on the fragment-based discovery and optimization of 2-amino pyridine derivatives as a novel lead-like structure for the treatment of the dangerous opportunistic pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa . We pursue an innovative treatment strategy by interfering with the Pseudomonas Quinolone Signal (PQS) Quorum Sensing (QS) system leading to an abolishment of bacterial pathogenicity. Our compounds act on the PQS receptor (PqsR), a key transcription factor controlling the expression of various pathogenicity determinants. In this target-driven approach, we made use of biophysical screening via surface plasmon resonance (SPR) followed by isothermal titration calorimetry (ITC)-enabled enthalpic efficiency (EE) evaluation. Hit optimization then involved growth vector identification and exploitation. Astonishingly, the latter was successfully achieved by introducing flexible linkers rather than rigid motifs leading to a boost in activity on the target receptor and anti-virulence potency.
    • Flotillin-mediated membrane fluidity controls peptidoglycan synthesis and MreB movement.

      Zielińska, Aleksandra; Savietto, Abigail; de Sousa Borges, Anabela; Martinez, Denis; Berbon, Melanie; Roelofsen, Joël R; Hartman, Alwin M; de Boer, Rinse; Van der Klei, Ida J; Hirsch, Anna Kh; et al. (eLife Sciences Publications, Ltd., 2020-07-14)
      Every living cell is enclosed by a flexible membrane made of molecules known as phospholipids, which protects the cell from harmful chemicals and other threats. In bacteria and some other organisms, a rigid structure known as the cell wall sits just outside of the membrane and determines the cell’s shape. There are several proteins in the membrane of bacteria that allow the cell to grow by assembling new pieces of the cell wall. To ensure these proteins expand the cell wall at the right locations, another protein known as MreB moves and organizes them to the appropriate place in the membrane and controls their activity. Previous studies have found that another class of proteins called flotillins are involved in arranging proteins and phospholipid molecules within membranes. Bacteria lacking these proteins do not grow properly and are unable to maintain their normal shape. However, the precise role of the flotillins remained unclear. Here, Zielińska, Savietto et al. used microscopy approaches to study flotillins in a bacterium known as Bacillus subtilis. The experiments found that, in the presence of flotillins, MreB moved around the membrane more quickly (suggesting it was more active) than when no flotillins were present. Similar results were observed when bacterial cells lacking flotillins were treated with a chemical that made membranes more ‘fluid’ – that is, made it easier for the molecules within the membrane to travel around. Further experiments found that flotillins allowed the phospholipid molecules within an artificial membrane to move around more freely, which increases the fluidity of the membrane. These findings suggest that flotillins make the membranes of bacterial cells more fluid to help cells expand their walls and perform several other processes. Understanding how bacteria control the components of their membranes will further our understanding of how many currently available antibiotics work and may potentially lead to the design of new antibiotics in the future.
    • Fragment-Based Discovery of a Qualified Hit Targeting the Latency-Associated Nuclear Antigen of the Oncogenic Kaposi's Sarcoma-Associated Herpesvirus/Human Herpesvirus 8.

      Kirsch, Philine; Jakob, Valentin; Oberhausen, Kevin; Stein, Saskia C; Cucarro, Ivano; Schulz, Thomas F; Empting, Martin; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (American Chemical Society, 2019-04-25)
      The latency-associated nuclear antigen (LANA) is required for latent replication and persistence of Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus/human herpesvirus 8. It acts via replicating and tethering the virus episome to the host chromatin and exerts other functions. We conceived a new approach for the discovery of antiviral drugs to inhibit the interaction between LANA and the viral genome. We applied a biophysical screening cascade and identified the first LANA binders from small, structurally diverse compound libraries. Starting from a fragment-sized scaffold, we generated optimized hits via fragment growing using a dedicated fluorescence-polarization-based assay as the structure-activity-relationship driver. We improved compound potency to the double-digit micromolar range. Importantly, we qualified the resulting hit through orthogonal methods employing EMSA, STD-NMR, and MST methodologies. This optimized hit provides an ideal starting point for subsequent hit-to-lead campaigns providing evident target-binding, suitable ligand efficiencies, and favorable physicochemical properties.
    • François Diederich - In Memoriam*.

      Hof, Fraser; Hirsch, Anna K H; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (Wiley-VCH, 2020-12-14)
      François Diederich - In Memoriam. In this Guest Editorial, Fraser Hof and Anna K. H. Hirsch help us remember the life and scientific legacy of Prof. François Diederich, a beloved mentor and inspiration to many, as well as an extraordinary scientist who made significant impacts in remarkably diverse areas.
    • From Wood to Tetrahydro-2-benzazepines in Three Waste-Free Steps: Modular Synthesis of Biologically Active Lignin-Derived Scaffolds.

      Elangovan, Saravanakumar; Afanasenko, Anastasiia; Haupenthal, Jörg; Sun, Zhuohua; Liu, Yongzhuang; Hirsch, Anna K H; Barta, Katalin; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (American Society for Chemistry, 2019-10-23)
      nherently complex, lignin-derived aromatic monomers comprising valuable structural moieties present in many pharmaceuticals would serve as ideal substrates for the construction of biologically active molecules. Here, we describe a strategy that incorporates all intrinsic functional groups present in platform chemicals obtained by lignin depolymerization into value-added amines, using sustainable catalytic methods and benign solvents. Our strikingly efficient protocol provides access to libraries of aminoalkyl-phenol derivatives and seven-membered N-heterocycles directly from wood in two, respectively three, waste-free steps. Several molecules in these libraries have shown promising antibacterial or anticancer activities, emphasizing the advantage of this modular synthetic strategy and the potential for drug discovery. The sustainable catalytic pathways presented here can lead to significant benefits for the pharmaceutical industry where reduction of hazardous waste is a prime concern, and the described strategies that lead to high-value products from non-edible biomass waste streams also markedly increase the economic feasibility of lignocellulosic biorefineries.
    • Heteroatom insertion into 3,4-dihydro-1H-quinolin-2-ones leads to potent and selective inhibitors of human and rat aldosterone synthase.

      Grombein, Cornelia M; Hu, Qingzhong; Rau, Sabrina; Zimmer, Christina; Hartmann, Rolf W; Helmholtz Institute for Pharmaceutical Research Saarland (HIPS) Campus C2 3, D-66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (2015-01-27)
      Aldosterone synthase (CYP11B2) catalyzes the conversion of 11-deoxycorticosterone to aldosterone via corticosterone and 18-hydroxycorticosterone. CYP11B2 is regarded as a new target for several cardiovascular diseases which are associated with chronically elevated aldosterone levels such as hypertension, congestive heart failure and myocardial fibrosis. In this paper, we optimized heterocycle substituted 3,4-dihydropyridin-2(1H)-ones as CYP11B inhibitors by systematic introduction of heteroatoms and by bioisosteric exchange of the lactame moiety by a sultame moiety. The most promising compounds regarding inhibition of human CYP11B2 and selectivity versus human enzymes CYP11B1, CYP17, and CYP19 were tested for inhibition of rat CYP11B2. Thus, we discovered compounds 4 and 9 which show potent inhibition of hCYP11B2 (IC50 < 1 nM) and the corresponding rat enzyme (4: 64%, 9: 51% inhibition, at 2 μM).
    • Hit evaluation of an α-helical peptide: Ala-scan, truncation and sidechain-to-sidechain macrocyclization of an RNA polymerase Inhibitor.

      Kamal, Ahmed Ashraf Moustafa; Habib, Monica; Haupenthal, Joerg; Hartmann, Rolf Wolfgang; Empting, Martin; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (De Gruyter, 2019-02-25)
      RNA polymerase (RNAP) remains a relatively underexplored target with only rifampicin and fidaxomicin in clinical use. Hence, the concurrent rise in bacterial resistance rate urges the search for novel RNAP inhibitors with novel mode of action. In this work, we investigated the impact of several systematic modifications including sidechain-to-sidechain macrocylization in α-helical content and biological activity of a previously identified inhibitory sigma factor fragment. Ala-scan results, peptide truncation from both the N- and C- terminus, and modifications inspired by other RNAP inhibitors revealed novel structure activity relationships but did not yield a superior sequence. Additionally, four insertion points for non-natural amino acids bearing side chains required for macrocylization were explored. Linear precursors showed improved stabilization of α-helical content compared to the original sequence as demonstrated by CD spectroscopy. However, this increase in α-helicity did not translate into improved biological activity. Instead, complete abolishment of RNAP inhibitory activity occurred. We hypothesize three possible reasons for such discrepancy and offer basis for further optimization efforts for this peptidic RNAP inhibitor.
    • Hit-optimization using target-directed dynamic combinatorial chemistry: development of inhibitors of the anti-infective target 1-deoxy-d-xylulose-5-phosphate synthase.

      Jumde, Ravindra P; Guardigni, Melissa; Gierse, Robin M; Alhayek, Alaa; Zhu, Di; Hamid, Zhoor; Johannsen, Sandra; Elgaher, Walid A M; Neusens, Philipp J; Nehls, Christian; et al. (Royal Society of Chemistry, 2021-04-28)
      Target-directed dynamic combinatorial chemistry (tdDCC) enables identification, as well as optimization of ligands for un(der)explored targets such as the anti-infective target 1-deoxy-d-xylulose-5-phosphate synthase (DXPS). We report the use of tdDCC to first identify and subsequently optimize binders/inhibitors of the anti-infective target DXPS. The initial hits were also optimized for their antibacterial activity against E. coli and M. tuberculosis during subsequent tdDCC runs. Using tdDCC, we were able to generate acylhydrazone-based inhibitors of DXPS. The tailored tdDCC runs also provided insights into the structure-activity relationship of this novel class of DXPS inhibitors. The competition tdDCC runs provided important information about the mode of inhibition of acylhydrazone-based inhibitors. This approach holds the potential to expedite the drug-discovery process and should be applicable to a range of biological targets.
    • Hit-to-lead optimization of a latency-associated nuclear antigen inhibitor against Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus infections.

      Kirsch, Philine; Stein, Saskia C; Berwanger, Aylin; Rinkes, Julia; Jakob, Valentin; Schulz, Thomas F; Empting, Martin; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (Elsevier, 2020-06-28)
      The Latency-associated nuclear antigen (LANA) plays a central role for the latent persistence of the Kaposi's Sarcoma Herpesvirus (KSHV) in the human host and helps to establish lifelong infections. Herein, we report our efforts towards hit-to-lead generation starting from a previously discovered LANA-DNA inhibitor. By tethering the viral genome to the host nucleosomes, LANA ensures the segregation and persistence of the viral DNA during mitosis. LANA is also required for the replication of the latent viral episome during the S phase of the cell cycle. We aim to inhibit the interaction between LANA and the viral genome to prevent the latent persistence of KSHV in the host organism. Medicinal chemistry-driven optimization studies and structure-activity-relationship investigation led to the discovery of an improved LANA inhibitor. The functional activity of our compounds was evaluated using a fluorescence polarization (FP)-based interaction inhibition assay and electrophoretic mobility shift assay (EMSA). Even though a crystal structure of the ligand protein complex was not available, we successfully conducted hit optimization toward a low micromolar protein-nucleic acid-interaction inhibitor. Additionally, we applied STD-NMR studies to corroborate target binding and to gain insights into the binding orientation of our most potent inhibitor, providing opportunities for further rational design of more efficient LANA-targeting anti KSHV agents in future studies.
    • Hits identified in library screening demonstrate selective CYP17A1 lyase inhibition.

      Krug, Sebastian J; Hu, Qingzhong; Hartmann, Rolf W; Pharmaceutical and Medicinal Chemistry, Saarland University, Campus C2.3, 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (2013-03)
      A screening of structurally different steroid hormone synthesis inhibitors was performed in order to find a starting point for the development of a new inhibitor of the bifunctional steroidogenic enzyme CYP17A1. Emphasis was placed on determination of selectivity between the two catalytic steps, namely 17α-hydroxylase and C(17,20)-lyase. For that purpose a new inhibition assay has been developed. Hits identified within this novel assay demonstrated selective inhibition of CYP17A1 lyase activity, and thus mark the basis for the development of selective C(17,20)-lyase inhibitors for the treatment of prostate cancer.
    • Hydroxybenzothiazoles as new nonsteroidal inhibitors of 17β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 1 (17β-HSD1).

      Spadaro, Alessandro; Negri, Matthias; Marchais-Oberwinkler, Sandrine; Bey, Emmanuel; Frotscher, Martin; Pharmaceutical and Medicinal Chemistry, Saarland University, Saarbrücken, Germany. (2012)
      17β-estradiol (E2), the most potent estrogen in humans, known to be involved in the development and progession of estrogen-dependent diseases (EDD) like breast cancer and endometriosis. 17β-HSD1, which catalyses the reduction of the weak estrogen estrone (E1) to E2, is often overexpressed in breast cancer and endometriotic tissues. An inhibition of 17β-HSD1 could selectively reduce the local E2-level thus allowing for a novel, targeted approach in the treatment of EDD. Continuing our search for new nonsteroidal 17β-HSD1 inhibitors, a novel pharmacophore model was derived from crystallographic data and used for the virtual screening of a small library of compounds. Subsequent experimental verification of the virtual hits led to the identification of the moderately active compound 5. Rigidification and further structure modifications resulted in the discovery of a novel class of 17β-HSD1 inhibitors bearing a benzothiazole-scaffold linked to a phenyl ring via keto- or amide-bridge. Their putative binding modes were investigated by correlating their biological data with features of the pharmacophore model. The most active keto-derivative 6 shows IC₅₀-values in the nanomolar range for the transformation of E1 to E2 by 17β-HSD1, reasonable selectivity against 17β-HSD2 but pronounced affinity to the estrogen receptors (ERs). On the other hand, the best amide-derivative 21 shows only medium 17β-HSD1 inhibitory activity at the target enzyme as well as fair selectivity against 17β-HSD2 and ERs. The compounds 6 and 21 can be regarded as first benzothiazole-type 17β-HSD1 inhibitors for the development of potential therapeutics.