Influenza A (IVA) continues to pose a growing global threat even as current medications are becoming less effective. One of the main avenues of research into new anti-IVA drugs is its homotetrameric Matrix 2 proton channel (M2A), without which the virus would be unable to release its viral RNA into the host cell. The drug amantadine used to bind and block M2A until near-ubiquitous resistance formed as an M2A-S31N mutation, starting around 1995 and proceeding to 2005 when amantadine was disallowed for use as an anti-IVA drug. The standard organic structure currently being used for M2A inhibitor research comprises an adamantyl foot group, a heterocyclic aryl body group, and a cyclic head group. A sample set of compounds with this standard structure was compared and reviewed, focusing on positive and negative moieties and modifications. Modifications on the foot group were all more or less detrimental, body groups with two heteroatoms were advantageous, and larger head groups appeared better. Four other scaffolds known to literature were proposed for further study due to beneficial aspects of each. Where most anti-M2A research deals exclusively with organic compounds, metals and their potential in drugs have been almost entirely ignored due to the increased toxicity they bring. Free copper was found in past research to be the only first-row transition metal to show significant M2A-inhibitory activity, proposed to do so by binding the H37 cluster that acts as a pH-dependent control switch for the channel. Six overall-neutral copper complexes were synthesized as a combination of amantadine, cyclooctylamine, and null scaffolds with two of either acetate or acetamide arms as chelators. The complexes were found to block both M2A-WT and M2A-S31N. Along with CuCl¬¬2, though, they had little to no effect on M2A-H37A, providing confirming evidence that the copper binds at the H37 tetrad. Only one complex, Cu(cyclooctylamineiminodiacetate), outperformed CuCl2 in channel block studies and efficacy against two IVA strains, but all of the complexes were found to have lower cytotoxicity. Because M2-H37 is highly conserved, these complexes show promise for further testing against all strains of influenza A. Five net-divalent copper complexes were then synthesized with multiple aza or amine groups as chelators. The complexes failed to show any significant activity against M2A, however, which was thought to be due to size or polarity rejection or electromagnetic repulsion. One of the ligands, though, an adamantyl derivative of a tetraaza macrocycle, was a novel compound, and its copper complex, along with two others, were unknown to the CCDC database. The three complexes were characterized by X-ray diffraction and discussed.



College and Department

Physical and Mathematical Sciences; Chemistry and Biochemistry



Date Submitted


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medicinal metals, tridentate or tetradentate chelation, proton transport, cyclen crystal