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Antitumour Antibiotics with Potent Activity Against Multidrug Resistant (MDR) Staphylococcus aureus: A New Approach to Targeting Resistant Bacteria

[ Vol. 1 , Issue. 6 ]


M. A. Casely-Hayford, N. O. Kerr, E. Smith, S. Gibbons and M. Searcey   Pages 619 - 627 ( 9 )


As hospital reports of strains of resistant bacteria are continuing to increase, a new approach is required for the identification of small molecules with antibacterial activity. Natural products that bind covalently to their biological target have been largely unexplored, although in the field of cancer chemotherapy, such molecules have been shown to counter resistance developed through efflux mechanisms. The azinomycins are potent antitumour agents that alkylate DNA and one of the natural products, compound 1, is a mono-alkylator that has been reported to retain potent antitumour activity. All four diastereomers of 1 were synthesized via a route involving late stage introduction of the epoxide stereocentre and separation of the resulting compounds. A non-alkylating analogue and a potential alkylator that cannot intercalate were also made. All four diastereomers are potent antibacterial agents in cell lines containing efflux-based resistance mechanisms. MIC values in the range of 0.25-1.0 μg/ml were observed. Comparison with the antitumour activity of the compounds suggests that the antibacterial activity stems from a similar mechanism of action involving DNA alkylation. As the ultimate molecular target of the azinomycins is unknown, bacterial strains may represent an interesting route for the discovery of the downstream mechanisms affected by DNA alkylation.


P-glycoprotein efflux pump, cytotoxicity, anti-bacterial activity, Sharpless Asymmetric Epoxidation, column chromatography


Department of Pharmaceutical and Biological Chemistry, School of Pharmacy, University of London, 29-39 Brunswick Square, London WC1N 1AX, UK.

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