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Hinnah, Konstantin; Willems, Sabine; Morstein, Johannes; Heering, Jan; Hartrampf, Felix W. W.; Broichhagen, Johannes; Leippe, Philipp; Merk, Daniel; Trauner, Dirk (2020): Photohormones Enable Optical Control of the Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptor gamma (PPAR gamma). In: Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, Vol. 63, No. 19: pp. 10908-10920
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Photopharmacology aims at the optical control of protein activity using synthetic photoswitches. This approach has been recently expanded to nuclear hormone receptors with the introduction of "photohormones" for the retinoic acid receptor, farnesoid X receptor, and estrogen receptor. Herein, we report the development and profiling of photoswitchable agonists for peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPAR gamma). Based on known PPAR gamma ligands (MDG548, GW1929, and rosiglitazone), we have designed and synthesized azobenzene derivatives, termed AzoGW1929 and AzoRosi, which were confirmed to be active in cell-based assays. Subsequent computer-aided optimization of AzoRosi resulted in the photohormone AzoRosi-4, which bound and activated PPAR gamma preferentially in its light-activated cis-configuration.