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Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2010 Dec;54(12):5214-21. doi: 10.1128/AAC.01054-10. Epub 2010 Sep 20.

Effect of N-1/c-8 ring fusion and C-7 ring structure on fluoroquinolone lethality.

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Division of Medicinal and Natural Products Chemistry, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA 52242, USA.


Quinolones rapidly kill bacteria by two mechanisms, one that requires protein synthesis and one that does not. The latter, which is measured as lethal action in the presence of the protein synthesis inhibitor chloramphenicol, is enhanced by N-1 cyclopropyl and C-8 methoxy substituents, as seen with the highly lethal compound PD161144. In some compounds, such as levofloxacin, the N-1 and C-8 substituents are fused. To assess the effect of ring fusion on killing, structural derivatives of levofloxacin and PD161144 differing at C-7 were synthesized and examined with Escherichia coli. A fused-ring derivative of PD161144 exhibited a striking absence of lethal activity in the presence of chloramphenicol. In general, ring fusion had little effect on lethal activity when protein synthesis was allowed, but fusion reduced lethal activity in the absence of protein synthesis to extents that depended on the C-7 ring structure. Additional fused-ring fluoroquinolones, pazufloxacin, marbofloxacin, and rufloxacin, also exhibited reduced activity in the presence of chloramphenicol. Energy minimization modeling revealed that steric interactions of the trans-oriented N-1 cyclopropyl and C-8 methoxy moieties skew the quinolone core, rigidly orient these groups perpendicular to core rings, and restrict the rotational freedom of C-7 rings. These features were not observed with fused-ring derivatives. Remarkably, structural effects on quinolone lethality were not explained by the recently described X-ray crystal structures of fluoroquinolone-topoisomerase IV-DNA complexes, suggesting the existence of an additional drug-binding state.

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