Copper-Catalyzed Syntheses of Pyrene-Pyrazole Pharmacophores and Structure Activity Studies for Tubulin Polymerization

Tubulin polymerization is critical in mitosis process, which regulates uncontrolled cell divisions. Here, we report a new class of pyrene-pyrazole pharmacophore (PPP) for targeting microtubules. Syntheses of seven pyrenyl-substituted pyrazoles with side-chain modification at N-1 and C-3 positions of the pyrazole ring were accomplished from alkenyl hydrazones via C–N dehydrogenative cross-coupling using copper catalyst under aerobic condition. Tubulin polymerization with PPPs was investigated using docking and biological tools to reveal that these ligands are capable of influencing microtubule polymerization and their interaction with α-, β-tubulin active binding sites, which are substituent specific. Furthermore, cytotoxicity response of these PPPs was tested on cancer cells of different origin, such as MCF-7, MDA-MB231, and C32, and also noncancerous normal cells, such as MCF-10A. All newly synthesized PPPs showed excellent anticancer activities. The anticancer activities and half-maximal inhibitory concentration (IC<sub>50</sub>) values of all PPPs across different cancer cell lines (MCF-7, MDA-MB231, and C32) have been demonstrated. 1,3-Diphenyl-5-(pyren-1-yl)-1<i>H</i>-pyrazole was found to be best among all other PPPs in killing significant population of all of the cancerous cell with IC<sub>50</sub> values 1 ± 0.5, 0.5 ± 0.2, and 5.0 ± 2.0 μM in MCF-7, MDA-MB231, and C32 cells, respectively.