We found that the Fischer indole synthesis of ethyl pyruvate 2-methoxyphenylhydrazone (5) with HCl/EtOH gave an abnormal product, ethyl 6-chloroindole-2-carboxylate (7), as the main product, with a smaller amount of ethyl 7-methoxyindole-2-carboxylate (6) as the normal product. This abnormal reaction was the result of a cyclization on the side with the substituent (methoxy group) of a benzene ring on phenylhydrazone, which was not previously observed. In this initial investigation, we focused on 1) the application of the above-mentioned abnormal Fischer indole synthesis, 2) the details of this reaction of phenylhydrazone with other kinds of substituents, 3) the mechanism of the first step of the Fischer indole synthesis, 4) the abnormal reaction in methoxydiphenylhydrazones, and 5) a synthetic device to avoid an abnormal reaction. The results of these studies are summarized herein.
Fabry disease is an inherited lysosomal storage disorder caused by deficient α-galactosidase A activity. Many missense mutations in Fabry disease often cause misfolded gene products, which leads to their retention in the endoplasmic reticulum by the quality control system; they are then removed by endoplasmic reticulum-associated degradation. We discovered that a potent α-galactosidase A inhibitor, 1-deoxygalactonojirimycin, acts as a pharmacological chaperone to facilitate the proper folding of the mutant enzyme by binding to its active site, thereby improving its stability and trafficking to the lysosomes in mammalian cells. The oral administration of 1-deoxygalactonojirimycin to transgenic mice expressing human mutant α-galactosidase A resulted in significant increases in α-galactosidase A activity in various organs, with concomitant reductions in globotriaosylceramide, which contributes to the pathology of Fabry disease. Seventy-eight missense mutations were found to be responsive to 1-deoxygalactonojirimycin. These data indicate that many patients with Fabry disease could potentially benefit from pharmacological chaperone therapy.