Synthesis and screening of potential antimicrobial compounds

  • Preeti Gunthey

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


Tuberculosis (TB), an infection caused by human pathogen Mycobacterium tuberculosis, continues to kill millions each year and is as prevalent as it was in the pre-antimicrobial era. With the emergence of continuously-evolving multi-drug resistant strains (MDR) and the implications of the HIV epidemic, it is crucial that new drugs with better efficacy and affordable cost are developed to treat TB. With this in mind, the first part of this thesis discusses the synthesis of libraries of derivatives of pyridine carboxamidrazones, along with cyclised (1,2,4-triazole and 1,2,4-oxadiazole) and fluorinated analogues. Microbiological screening against M. tuberculosis was carried out at the TAACF, NIAID and IDRI (USA). This confirmed the earlier findings that 2-pyridyl-substituted carboxamidrazones were more active than the 4-pyridyl-substituted carboxamidrazones. Another important observation was that upon cyclisation of these carboxamidrazones, a small number of the triazoles retained their activity while in most of the remaining compounds the activity was diminished. This might be attributed to the significant increase in logP value caused by cyclisation of these linear carboxamidrazones, resulting in high lipophilicity and decreased permeability. Another reason might be that the rigidity conferred upon the compound due to cyclisation, results in failure of the compound to fit into the active site of the putative target enzyme.
In order to investigate the potential change to the compounds’ metabolism in the organism and/or host, the most active compounds were selected and a fluorine atom was introduced in the pyridine ring. The microbiological results shows a drastic improvement in the activity of the fluorinated carboxamidrazone amides as compared to their non fluorinated counterpart. This improvement in the activity could possibly be the result of the increased cell permeability caused by the fluorine. In a subsidiary strand, a selection of long-chain , -unsaturated carboxylic esters, -keto, -hydroxy carboxylic esters and -keto, -hydroxy carboxylic esters, structurally similar to mycolic acids, were synthesised. The microbiological data revealed that one of the open chain compound was active against the Mycobacterium tuberculosis H37Rv strain and some resistant isolates. The possible compound activity could be its potential to disrupt mycobacterial cell wall synthesis by interfering with the FAS-II pathway.
Date of Award25 Jun 2014
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorDan Rathbone (Supervisor) & Tony Worthington (Supervisor)


  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis
  • carboxamidrazone
  • cyclisation
  • fluorination
  • Horner-Wadsworth- Emmons modification to Wittig’s reaction

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