Synthesis and evaluation of novel heteroaromatic substrates of GABA aminotransferase

Dustin D. Hawker, Richard B. Silverman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Two principal neurotransmitters are involved in the regulation of mammalian neuronal activity, namely, γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA), an inhibitory neurotransmitter, and l-glutamic acid, an excitatory neurotransmitter. Low GABA levels in the brain have been implicated in epilepsy and several other neurological diseases. Because of GABA's poor ability to cross the blood-brain barrier (BBB), a successful strategy to raise brain GABA concentrations is the use of a compound that does cross the BBB and inhibits or inactivates GABA aminotransferase (GABA-AT), the enzyme responsible for GABA catabolism. Vigabatrin, a mechanism-based inactivator of GABA-AT, is currently a successful therapeutic for epilepsy, but has harmful side effects, leaving a need for improved GABA-AT inactivators. Here, we report the synthesis and evaluation of a series of heteroaromatic GABA analogues as substrates of GABA-AT, which will be used as the basis for the design of novel enzyme inactivators.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5763-5773
Number of pages11
JournalBioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry
Issue number19
StatePublished - Oct 1 2012


  • Enzyme inhibition
  • GABA aminotransferase
  • Heteroaromatic compounds
  • Synthetic substrates
  • γ-Aminobutyric acid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Drug Discovery
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Organic Chemistry


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