Synthesis, molecular properties prediction and biological evaluation of indole-vinyl sulfone derivatives as novel tubulin polymerization inhibitors targeting the colchicine binding site

Wenlong Li, Honghao Sun, Feijie Xu, Wen Shuai, Jie Liu, Shengtao Xu, Hequan Yao, Cong Ma, Zheying Zhu, Jinyi Xu

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


Twenty-two novel indole-vinyl sulfone derivatives were designed, synthesized and evaluated as tubulin polymerization inhibitors. The physicochemical and drug-likeness properties of all target compounds were predicted by Osiris calculations. All compounds were evaluated for their antiproliferative activities, among them, compound 7f exhibited the most potent activity against a panel of cancer cell lines, which was 2–7 folds more potent than our previously reported compound 4. Especially, 7f displayed about 8-fold improvement of selective index as compared with compound 4, indicating that 7f might have lower toxicity. Besides, 7f inhibited the microtubule polymerization by binding to the colchicine site of tubulin. Further investigations showed that compound 7f effectively disrupted microtubule network, caused cell cycle arrest at G2/M phase and induced cell apoptosis in K562 cells. Moreover, 7f reduced the cell migration and disrupted capillary-like tube formation in HUVEC cells. Importantly, the in vivo anti-tumor activity of 7f was validated in H22 liver cancer xenograft mouse model without apparent toxicity, suggesting that 7f is a promising anti-tubulin agent for cancer therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)49-59
Number of pages11
JournalBioorganic Chemistry
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2019


  • Colchicine site
  • Drug-likeness
  • Indole
  • Tubulin inhibitor
  • Vinyl sulfone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Drug Discovery
  • Organic Chemistry

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