Automated synthesis and evaluation of potential new anti-microbial agents

  • Katy J. Tims

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


A series of N1-benzylideneheteroarylcarboxamidrazones was prepared in an automated fashion, and tested against Mycobacterium fortuitum in a rapid screen for antimycobacterial activity. Many of the compounds from this series were also tested against Mycobacterium tuberculosis, and the usefulness as M.fortuitum as a rapid, initial screen for anti-tubercular activity evaluated. Various deletions were made to the N1-benzylideneheteroarylcarboxamidrazone structure in order to establish the minimum structural requirements for activity. The N1-benzylideneheteroarylcarbox-amidrazones were then subjected to molecular modelling studies and their activities against M.fortuitum and M.tuberculosis were analysed using quantitative structure-analysis relationship (QSAR) techniques in the computational package TSAR (Oxford Molecular Ltd.). A set of equations predictive of antimycobacterial activity was hereby obtained. The series of N1-benzylidenehetero-arylcarboxamidrazones was also tested against a multidrug-resistant strain of Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), followed by a panel of Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria, if activity was observed for MRSA. A set of antimycobacterial N1-benzylideneheteroarylcarboxamidrazones was hereby discovered, the best of which had MICs against m. fortuitum in the range 4-8μgml-1 and displayed 94% inhibition of M.tuberculosis at a concentration of 6.25μgml-1. The antimycobacterial activity of these compounds appeared to be specific, since the same compounds were shown to be inactive against other classes of organisms. Compounds which were found to be sufficiently active in any screen were also tested for their toxicity against human mononuclear leucocytes.
Polyethylene glycol (PEG) was used as a soluble polymeric support for the synthesis of some fatty acid derivatives, containing an isoxazoline group, which may inhibit mycolic acid synthesis in mycobacteria. Both the PEG-bound products and the cleaved, isolated products themselves were tested against M.fortuitum and some low levels of antimycobacterial activity were observed, which may serve as lead compounds for further studies.

Date of Award2002
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorDan Rathbone (Supervisor) & David C. Billington (Supervisor)


  • amidrazones
  • mycobacterium tubercolosis
  • MRSA
  • molecular modelling
  • soluble polymer

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