Hit Identification and Hit Expansion in Antituberculosis Drug Discovery : Design and Synthesis of Glutamine Synthetase and 1-Deoxy-D-Xylulose-5-Phosphate Reductoisomerase Inhibitors

University dissertation from Uppsala : Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis

Abstract: Since the discovery of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) as the bacterial agent causing tuberculosis, the permanent eradication of this disease has proven challenging. Although a number of drugs exist for the treatment of tuberculosis, 1.7 million people still die every year from this infection. The current treatment regimen involves lengthy combination therapy with four different drugs in an effort to combat the development of resistance. However, multidrug-resistant and extensively drug-resistant strains are emerging in all parts of the world. Therefore, new drugs effective in the treatment of tuberculosis are much-needed.The work presented in this thesis was focused on the early stages of drug discovery by applying different hit identification and hit expansion strategies in the exploration of two new potential drug targets, glutamine synthetase (GS) and 1-deoxy-D-xylulose-5-phosphate reductoisomerase (DXR).A literature survey was first carried out to identify new Mtb GS inhibitors from compounds known to inhibit GS in other species. Three compounds, structurally unrelated to the typical amino acid derivatives of previously known GS inhibitors, were then discovered by virtual screening and found to be Mtb GS inhibitors, exhibiting activities in the millimolar range. Imidazo[1,2-a]pyridine analogues were also investigated as Mtb GS inhibitors. The chemical functionality, size requirements and position of the substituents in the imidazo[1,2-a]pyridine hit were investigated, and a chemical library was designed based on a focused hierarchical design of experiments approach. The X-ray structure of one of the inhibitors in complex with Mtb GS provided additional insight into the structure–activity relationships of this class of compounds.Finally, new α-arylated fosmidomycin analogues were synthesized as inhibitors of Mtb DXR, exhibiting IC50 values down to 0.8 µM. This work shows that a wide variety of aryl groups are tolerated by the enzyme. Cinnamaldehydes are important synthetic intermediates in the synthesis of fosmidomycin analogues. These were prepared by an oxidative Heck reaction from acrolein and various arylboronic acids. Electron-rich, electron-poor, heterocyclic and sterically hindered boronic acids could be employed, furnishing cinnamaldehydes in 43–92% yield.

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