Drug discovery programs against the antibacterial target UDP-N-acetylglucosamine enolpyruvyl transferase (MurA) have already resulted in covalent inhibitors having small threeand five-membered heterocyclic rings. In the current study, the reactivity of four-membered rings was carefully modulated to obtain a novel family of covalent MurA inhibitors. Screening a small library of cyclobutenone derivatives led to the identification of bromo-cyclobutenaminones as new electrophilic warheads. The electrophilic reactivity and cysteine specificity have been determined in a glutathione (GSH) and an oligopeptide assay, respectively. Investigating the structure-activity relationship for MurA suggests a crucial role for the bromine atom in the ligand. In addition, MS/MS experiments have proven the covalent labelling of MurA at Cys115 and the observed loss of the bromine atom suggests a net nucleophilic substitution as the covalent reaction. This new set of compounds might be considered as a viable chemical starting point for the discovery of new MurA inhibitors.
Bibliographical noteSpecial Issue: Novel Antibacterial Agents.
- Covalent inhibitor