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J Med Chem. 2002 Mar 14;45(6):1340-7.

Synthesis and mode of action of hydrophobic derivatives of the glycopeptide antibiotic eremomycin and des-(N-methyl-D-leucyl)eremomycin against glycopeptide-sensitive and -resistant bacteria.

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Gause Institute of New Antibiotics, Russian Academy of Medical Sciences, B. Pirogovskaya 11, Moscow, 119867 Russia.


Des-(N-methyl-D-leucyl)eremomycin was obtained by Edman degradation of eremomycin. Derivatives with a hydrophobic substituent at the exterior of the molecule were then synthesized, and their antibacterial activities were compared with similar derivatives of eremomycin. Comparison of derivatives of eremomycin containing the n-decyl or p-(p-chlorophenyl)benzyl substituent in the eremosamine moiety (N') and n-decyl or p-(p-chlorophenyl)benzylamides with similar derivatives of eremomycin possessing the damaged peptide core (a defective binding pocket) showed that compounds of both types are almost equally active against glycopeptide-resistant strains of enterococci (GRE), whereas eremomycin derivatives are more active against staphylococci. Hydrophobic 7d-alkylaminomethylated derivatives of eremomycin (9, 10) demonstrated similar antibacterial properties. Since the basic mode of action of glycopeptide antibiotics involves binding to cell wall intermediates terminating in -D-Ala-D-Ala and this interaction is seriously decreased in the hexapeptide derivatives (lacking the critical N-methyl-D-leucine), we suggest that these hydrophobic derivatives may inhibit peptidoglycan synthesis in the absence of dipeptide binding. NMR binding experiments using Ac-D-Ala-D-Ala show that binding constants of these hexapeptide derivativies are decreased in comparison with the corresponding heptapeptides with intact binding pocket. This is in agreement with the decreased biological activity of the hexapeptide derivatives against vancomycin-sensitive strains in comparison with the activity of parent compounds. Binding to the lactate cell wall analogue Ac-D-Ala-D-Lac with decylamide of eremomycin 8 was not observed, demonstrating that the interaction with this target in GRE does not occur. While hydrophobic glycopeptide derivatives retain the ability to inhibit the synthesis of peptidoglycan in manner of natural glycopeptides, biochemical investigation supports the hypothesis that they inhibit the transglycosylase stage of bacterial peptidoglycan biosynthesis even in the absence of dipeptide or depsipeptide binding.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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