Indole-containing arene-ruthenium complexes with broad spectrum activity against antibiotic-resistant bacteria

Victoria C. Nolan, Laia Rafols, James Harrison, Joan J. Soldevila-Barreda, Marialuisa Crosatti, Natalie J. Garton, Malgorzata Wegrzyn, Danielle L. Timms, Colin C. Seaton, Helen Sendron, Maria Azmanova, Nicolas P.E. Barry, Anaïs Pitto-Barry, Jonathan A.G. Cox*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Antimicrobial resistant (AMR) bacteria are emerging and spreading globally, threatening our ability to treat common infectious diseases. The development of new classes of antibiotics able to kill or inhibit the growth of such AMR bacteria through novel mechanisms of action is therefore urgently needed. Here, a new family of indole-containing arene ruthenium organometallic compounds are screened against several bacterial species and drug resistant strains. The most active complex [(p-cym)Ru(O-cyclohexyl-1H-indole-2-carbothioate)Cl] (3) shows growth inhibition and bactericidal activity against different organisms (Acinetobacter baumannii, Mycobacterium abscessus, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Staphylococcus aureus, Salmonella enterica serovar typhi and Escherichia coli), demonstrating broad-spectrum inhibitory activity. Importantly, this compound series exhibits low toxicity against human cells. Owing to the novelty of the antibiotic family, their moderate cytotoxicity, and their inhibitory activity against Gram positive, Gram negative and acid-fast, antibiotic resistant microorganisms, this series shows significant promise for further development.
Original languageEnglish
Article number100099
JournalCurrent Research in Microbial Sciences
Early online date16 Dec 2021
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022

Bibliographical note

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

Funding: .P.E.B. acknowledges the support of the Royal Society (University Research Fellowship No. UF150295 to N.P.E.B.), the University of Bradford, and by the Academy of Medical Sciences/the Wellcome Trust/the Government Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy/the British Heart Foundation Springboard Award [SBF003\1170 to N.P.E.B.].

J.A.G.C. is grateful to the Academy of Medical Sciences, Global Challenges Research Fund, Birmingham Women's and Children's Hospital Charity Research Foundation and Give A Child Health Fund for their continued support of the Mycobacterial Research Group at Aston University. This research was funded by the Academy of Medical Sciences/the British Heart Foundation/the Government Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy/Global Challenges Research Fund/the Wellcome Trust Springboard Award [SBF003\1088]. VCN is supported with a PhD Studentship jointly funded by Give A Child Health Fund and Aston University.


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