Cyclopeptide alkaloids are polyamidic, macrocyclic compounds, containing a 13-, 14-, or 15-membered ring. The ring system consists of a hydroxystyrylamine moiety, an amino acid, and a β-hydroxy amino acid; attached to the ring is a side chain, comprised of one or two more amino acid moieties. In vitro antiplasmodial activity was shown before for several compounds belonging to this class, and in this paper the antiplasmodial and cytotoxic activities of ten more cyclopeptide alkaloids are reported. Combining these results and the IC50 values that were reported by our group previously, a library consisting of 19 cyclopeptide alkaloids was created. A qualitative SAR (structure-activity relationship) study indicated that a 13-membered macrocyclic ring is preferable over a 14-membered one. Furthermore, the presence of a β-hydroxy proline moiety could correlate with higher antiplasmodial activity, and methoxylation (or, to a lesser extent, hydroxylation) of the styrylamine moiety could be important for displaying antiplasmodial activity. In addition, QSAR (quantitative structure-activity relationship) models were developed, using PLS (partial least squares regression) and MLR (multiple linear regression). On the one hand, these models allow for the indication of the most important descriptors (molecular properties) responsible for the antiplasmodial activity. Additionally, predictions made for interesting structures did not contradict the expectations raised in the qualitative SAR study.
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