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Science. 1996 Nov 8;274(5289):980-2.

Antibacterial agents that inhibit lipid A biosynthesis.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology, Merck Research Laboratories, Rahway, NJ 07065, USA.


Lipid A constitutes the outer monolayer of the outer membrane of Gram-negative bacteria and is essential for bacterial growth. Synthetic antibacterials were identified that inhibit the second enzyme (a unique deacetylase) of lipid A biosynthesis. The inhibitors are chiral hydroxamic acids bearing certain hydrophobic aromatic moieties. They may bind to a metal in the active site of the deacetylase. The most potent analog (with an inhibition constant of about 50 nM) displayed a minimal inhibitory concentration of about 1 microgram per milliliter against Escherichia coli, caused three logs of bacterial killing in 4 hours, and cured mice infected with a lethal intraperitoneal dose of E. coli.

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