Development of a Redox-Sensitive Spermine Prodrug for the Potential Treatment of Snyder Robinson Syndrome

Mukund P. Tantak, Vandana Sekhar, Xianzun Tao, R. Grace Zhai, Otto Phanstiel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Snyder Robinson Syndrome (SRS) is a rare disease associated with a defective spermine synthase gene and low intracellular spermine levels. In this study, a spermine replacement therapy was developed using a spermine prodrug that enters cells via the polyamine transport system. The prodrug was comprised of three components: a redox-sensitive quinone "trigger", a "trimethyl lock (TML)"aryl "release mechanism", and spermine. The presence of spermine in the design facilitated uptake by the polyamine transport system. The quinone-TML motifs provided a redox-sensitive agent, which upon intracellular reduction generated a hydroquinone, which underwent intramolecular cyclization to release free spermine and a lactone byproduct. Rewardingly, most SRS fibroblasts treated with the prodrug revealed a significant increase in intracellular spermine. Administering the spermine prodrug through feeding in a Drosophila model of SRS showed significant beneficial effects. In summary, a spermine prodrug is developed and provides a lead compound for future spermine replacement therapy experiments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)15593-15607
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Medicinal Chemistry
Issue number21
StatePublished - Nov 11 2021
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Drug Discovery


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