Construction and activity evaluation of novel dual-target (SE/CYP51) anti-fungal agents containing amide naphthyl structure
Eur J Med Chem. 2021 Nov 3:113972. doi: 10.1016/j.ejmech.2021.113972. Online ahead of print.
With the increase of fungal infection and drug resistance, it is becoming an urgent task to discover the highly effective antifungal drugs. In the study, we selected the key ergosterol bio-synthetic enzymes (Squalene epoxidase, SE; 14 α-demethylase, CYP51) as dual-target receptors to guide the construction of novel antifungal compounds, which could achieve the purpose of improving drug efficacy and reducing drug-resistance. Three different series of amide naphthyl compounds were generated through the method of skeleton growth, and their corresponding target products were synthesized. Most of compounds displayed the obvious biological activity against different Candida spp. and Aspergillus fumigatus. Among of them, target compounds 14a-2 and 20b-2 not only possessed the excellent broad-spectrum anti-fungal activity (MIC50, 0.125-2 μg/mL), but also maintained the anti-drug-resistant fungal activity (MIC50, 1-4 μg/mL). Preliminary mechanism study revealed the compounds (14a-2, 20b-2) could block the bio-synthetic pathway of ergosterol by inhibiting the dual-target (SE/CYP51) activity, and this finally caused the cleavage and death of fungal cells. In addition, we also discovered that compounds 14a-2 and 20b-2 with low toxic and side effects could exert the excellent therapeutic effect in mice model of fungal infection, which was worthy for further in-depth study.