Aroylhydrazone Glycoconjugate Prochelators Exploit Glucose Transporter 1 (GLUT1) to Target Iron in Cancer Cells

Yu Shien Sung, Baris Kerimoglu, Aikseng Ooi, Elisa Tomat

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Glycoconjugation strategies in anticancer drug discovery exploit the high expression of glucose transporters in malignant cells to achieve preferential uptake and hence attractive pharmacological characteristics of increased therapeutic windows and decreased unwanted toxicity. Here we present the design of glycoconjugated prochelators of aroylhydrazone AH1, an antiproliferative scavenger that targets the increased iron demand of rapidly proliferating malignant cells. The constructs feature a monosaccharide (d-glucose, d-glucosamine, or glycolytic inhibitor 2-deoxy-d-glucose) connected at the C2 or C6 position via a short linker, which masks the chelator through a disulfide bond susceptible to intracellular reduction. Cellular assays showed that the glycoconjugates rely on the GLUT1 transporter for uptake, lead to intracellular iron deprivation, and present antiproliferative activity. Ectopic overexpression of GLUT1 in malignant and normal cells increased the uptake and toxicity of the glycoconjugated prochelators, demonstrating that these compounds are well suited for targeting cells overexpressing glucose transporters and therefore for selective iron sequestration in malignant cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1452-1458
Number of pages7
JournalACS Medicinal Chemistry Letters
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 8 2022


  • GLUT1
  • cancer
  • glycoconjugation
  • iron
  • prochelator

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Drug Discovery
  • Organic Chemistry


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