Methods to Generate an Array of Novel Rexinoids by SAR on a Potent Retinoid X Receptor Agonist: A Case Study with NEt-TMN

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The methods described in this chapter concern procedures for the design, synthesis, and in vitro biological evaluation of an array of potent retinoid-X-receptor (RXR) agonists employing 6-(ethyl(5,5,8,8-tetramethyl-5,6,7,8-tetrahydronaphthalen-2-yl)amino)nicotinic acid (NEt-TMN), and recently reported NEt-TMN analogs, as a case study. These methods have been extensively applied beyond the present case study to generate several analogs of other potent RXR agonists (rexinoids), particularly the RXR agonist known as bexarotene (Bex), a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved drug for cutaneous T-cell lymphoma that is also often prescribed, off-label, for breast, lung, and other human cancers. Common side effects with Bex treatment include hypertriglyceridemia and hypothyroidism, because of off-target activation or inhibition of other nuclear receptor pathways impacted by RXR. Because rexinoids are often selective for RXR, versus the retinoic-acid-receptor (RAR), cutaneous toxicity is often avoided as a side effect for rexinoid treatment. Several other potent RXR agonists, and their analogs, have been reported in the literature and rigorously evaluated (often in comparison to Bex) as potential cancer therapeutics with unique activity and side-effect profiles. Some of the more prominent examples include LGD100268, CD3254, and 9-cis-UAB30, to name only a few. Hence, the methods described herein are more widely applicable to a diverse array of RXR agonists. In terms of design, the structure-activity relationship (SAR) study is usually performed by modifying three distinct areas of the rexinoid base structure, either of the nonpolar or polar sides of the rexinoid and/or the linkage that joins them. For the synthesis of the modified base-structure analogs, often identical synthetic strategies used to access the base-structure are applied; however, reasonable alternative synthetic routes may need to be explored if the modified analog intermediates encounter bottlenecks where yields are negligible for a given step in the base-structure route. In fact, this particular problem was encountered and successfully resolved in our case study for generating an array of NEt-TMN analogs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMethods in Molecular Biology
PublisherHumana Press Inc.
Number of pages13
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019

Publication series

NameMethods in Molecular Biology
ISSN (Print)1064-3745
ISSN (Electronic)1940-6029


  • Cutaneous T-cell lymphoma
  • Luciferase assay
  • Mammalian two hybrid assay
  • Nuclear receptor
  • Retinoid X receptor
  • Rexinoid
  • Synthetic methods

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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