The hydroxyl functionality and a rigid proximal N are required for forming a novel non-covalent quinine-heme complex

John N. Alumasa, Alexander P. Gorka, Leah B. Casabianca, Erica Comstock, Angel C. De Dios, Paul D. Roepe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Quinoline antimalarial drugs bind both monomeric and dimeric forms of free heme, with distinct preferences depending on the chemical environment. Under biological conditions, chloroquine (CQ) appears to prefer to bind to μ-oxo dimeric heme, while quinine (QN) preferentially binds monomer. To further explore this important distinction, we study three newly synthesized and several commercially available QN analogues lacking various functional groups. We find that removal of the QN hydroxyl lowers heme affinity, hemozoin (Hz) inhibition efficiency, and antiplasmodial activity. Elimination of the rigid quinuclidyl ring has similar effects, but elimination of either the vinyl or methoxy group does not. Replacing the quinuclidyl N with a less rigid tertiary aliphatic N only partially restores activity. To further study these trends, we probe drug-heme interactions via NMR studies with both Fe and Zn protoporphyrin IX (FPIX, ZnPIX) for QN, dehydroxyQN (DHQN), dequinuclidylQN (DQQN), and deamino-dequinuclidylQN (DADQQN). Magnetic susceptibility measurements in the presence of FPIX demonstrate that these compounds differentially perturb FPIX monomer-dimer equilibrium. We also isolate the QN-FPIX complex formed under mild aqueous conditions and analyze it by mass spectrometry, as well as fluorescence, vibrational, and solid-state NMR spectroscopies. The data elucidate key features of QN pharmacology and allow us to propose a refined model for the preferred binding of QN to monomeric FPIX under biologically relevant conditions. With this model in hand, we also propose how QN, CQ, and amodiaquine (AQ) differ in their ability to inhibit Hz formation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)467-475
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Inorganic Biochemistry
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


Dive into the research topics of 'The hydroxyl functionality and a rigid proximal N are required for forming a novel non-covalent quinine-heme complex'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this