Special Issue "Small Molecules as Antimicrobials"

A special issue of Pharmaceuticals (ISSN 1424-8247). This special issue belongs to the section "Medicinal Chemistry".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 March 2021).

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Poce Giovanna
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Chemistry and Technology of Drugs (DCTF), Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy
Interests: Medicinal chemistry; drug development; antimycobacterials; antibacterials
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The World Health Organization (WHO) announced antimicrobial resistance (AMR) as a major threat to public health. The rapid development and spread of new resistance mechanisms has made many antimicrobials useless in treating clinically ill patients. Even medical procedures such as major surgery, organ transplantation, and cancer chemotherapy have become very risky in the absence of effective antimicrobials for prevention and treatment of infections. Therefore, there is an urgent need for new, better, and more effective antimicrobials.

We invite authors to submit original research and review articles related to up-to-date and ongoing research focusing on the development and evaluation of potential new antimicrobial agents, as well as on the investigation of improved delivery protocols of both existing and new antimicrobial agents. We aim to highlight research covering all stages of investigation, such as in silico studies, synthesis efforts, in vitro studies, and in vivo evaluations.

Potential topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Development and testing of novel and effective antimicrobial agents;
  • Antimicrobial agents active against drug-resistant forms;
  • Recent advances in antimicrobial drug delivery.

Prof. Poce Giovanna
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • medicinal chemistry
  • antimycobacterials
  • antibacterials

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Published Papers (11 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Design, Synthesis, Biological Evaluation and In Silico Studies of Pyrazole-Based NH2-Acyl Oseltamivir Analogues as Potent Neuraminidase Inhibitors
Pharmaceuticals 2021, 14(4), 371; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph14040371 - 16 Apr 2021
Viewed by 358
Abstract
Oseltamivir represents one of the most successful neuraminidase (NA) inhibitors in the current anti-influenza therapy. The 150-cavity of NA was identified as an additional binding pocket, and novel NA inhibitors have been designed to occupy the 150-cavity based on the structure information of [...] Read more.
Oseltamivir represents one of the most successful neuraminidase (NA) inhibitors in the current anti-influenza therapy. The 150-cavity of NA was identified as an additional binding pocket, and novel NA inhibitors have been designed to occupy the 150-cavity based on the structure information of oseltamivir carboxylate (OC) in complex with NA. In this study, a series of C-5-NH2-acyl derivatives of OC containing the pyrazole moiety were synthesized. Several derivatives exhibited substantial inhibitory activity against NA. Moreover, in silico ADME evaluation indicated that the derivatives were drug-like with higher oral absorption rates and greater cell permeability than OC. Additionally, molecular docking studies revealed that the derivatives interacted with both the NA enzyme active site and 150-cavity as expected. The results provided useful information for further structural optimization of OC. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Small Molecules as Antimicrobials)
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Open AccessArticle
Benzoquinoline Derivatives: A Straightforward and Efficient Route to Antibacterial and Antifungal Agents
Pharmaceuticals 2021, 14(4), 335; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph14040335 - 06 Apr 2021
Viewed by 293
Abstract
We report here the design, synthesis, experimental and in silico evaluation of the antibacterial and antifungal activity of some new benzo[f]quinoline derivatives. Two classes of benzo[f]quinolinium derivatives—(benzo[f]quinolinium salts (BQS) and pyrrolobenzo[f]quinolinium cycloadducts (PBQC)—were designed and obtained in two steps [...] Read more.
We report here the design, synthesis, experimental and in silico evaluation of the antibacterial and antifungal activity of some new benzo[f]quinoline derivatives. Two classes of benzo[f]quinolinium derivatives—(benzo[f]quinolinium salts (BQS) and pyrrolobenzo[f]quinolinium cycloadducts (PBQC)—were designed and obtained in two steps via a direct and facile procedure: quaternization followed by a cycloaddition reaction. The synthesized compounds were characterized by elemental and spectral analysis (FT-IR, 1H-NMR, 13C-NMR). The antimicrobial assay reveals that the BQS salts have an excellent quasi-nonselective antifungal activity against the fungus Candida albicans (some of them higher that the control drug nystatin) and very good antibacterial activity against the Gram positive bacterium Staphylococcus aureus. The PBQC compounds are inactive. Analysis of the biological data reveals interesting SAR correlations in the benzo[f]quinolinium series of compounds. The in silico studies furnished important data concerning the pharmacodynamics, pharmacokinetics and ADMET parameters of the BQS salts. Studies of the interaction of each BQS salt 3a–o with ATP synthase in the formed complex, reveal that salts 3j, 3i, and 3n have the best fit in a complex with ATP synthase. Study of the interaction of each BQS salt 3a-o with TOPO II in the formed complex reveals that salts 3j and 3n have the best-fit in complex with TOPO II. The in silico ADMET studies reveal that the BQS salts have excellent drug-like properties, including a low toxicity profile. Overall, the experimental and in silico studies indicate that compounds 3e and 3f (from the aliphatic series), respectively, and 3i, 3j and 3n (from the aromatic series), are promising leading drug candidates. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Small Molecules as Antimicrobials)
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Open AccessArticle
Novel Cationic Meso-Arylporphyrins and Their Antiviral Activity against HSV-1
Pharmaceuticals 2021, 14(3), 242; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph14030242 - 08 Mar 2021
Viewed by 350
Abstract
This work is devoted to the search for new antiherpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) drugs among synthetic tetrapyrroles and to an investigation of their antiviral properties under nonphotodynamic conditions. In this study, novel amphiphilic 5,10,15,20-tetrakis(4-(3-pyridyl-n-propanoyl)oxyphenyl)porphyrin tetrabromide (3a), 5,10,15,20-tetrakis(4-(6-pyridyl- [...] Read more.
This work is devoted to the search for new antiherpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) drugs among synthetic tetrapyrroles and to an investigation of their antiviral properties under nonphotodynamic conditions. In this study, novel amphiphilic 5,10,15,20-tetrakis(4-(3-pyridyl-n-propanoyl)oxyphenyl)porphyrin tetrabromide (3a), 5,10,15,20-tetrakis(4-(6-pyridyl-n-hexanoyl)oxyphenyl)porphyrin tetrabromide (3b) and known 5,10,15,20-tetrakis(1-methyl-4-pyridinio)porphyrin tetraiodide (TMePyP) were synthesized, and their dark antiviral activity in vitro against HSV-1 was studied. The influence of porphyrin’s nanosized delivery vehicles based on Pluronic F127 on anti-HSV-1 activity was estimated. All the received compounds 3a, 3b and TMePyP showed virucidal efficiency and had an effect on viral replication stages. The new compound 3b showed the highest antiviral activity, close to 100%, with the lowest concentration, while the maximum TMePyP activity was observed with a high concentration; porphyrin 3a was the least active. The inclusion of the synthesized compounds in Pluronic F-127 polymeric micelles had a noticeable effect on antiviral activity only at higher porphyrin concentrations. Action of the received compounds differs by influence on the early or later reproduction stages. While 3a and TMePyP acted on all stages of the viral replication cycle, porphyrin 3b inhibited viral replication during the early stages of infection. The resulting compounds are promising for the development of utilitarian antiviral agents and, possibly, medical antiviral drugs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Small Molecules as Antimicrobials)
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Open AccessArticle
Discovery of Substituted (2-Aminooxazol-4-yl)Isoxazole-3-carboxylic Acids as Inhibitors of Bacterial Serine Acetyltransferase in the Quest for Novel Potential Antibacterial Adjuvants
Pharmaceuticals 2021, 14(2), 174; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph14020174 - 23 Feb 2021
Viewed by 501
Abstract
Many bacteria and actinomycetales use L-cysteine biosynthesis to increase their tolerance to antibacterial treatment and establish a long-lasting infection. In turn, this might lead to the onset of antimicrobial resistance that currently represents one of the most menacing threats to public health worldwide. [...] Read more.
Many bacteria and actinomycetales use L-cysteine biosynthesis to increase their tolerance to antibacterial treatment and establish a long-lasting infection. In turn, this might lead to the onset of antimicrobial resistance that currently represents one of the most menacing threats to public health worldwide. The biosynthetic machinery required to synthesise L-cysteine is absent in mammals; therefore, its exploitation as a drug target is particularly promising. In this article, we report a series of inhibitors of Salmonella thyphimurium serine acetyltransferase (SAT), the enzyme that catalyzes the rate-limiting step of L-cysteine biosynthesis. The development of such inhibitors started with the virtual screening of an in-house library of compounds that led to the selection of seven structurally unrelated hit derivatives. A set of molecules structurally related to hit compound 5, coming either from the original library or from medicinal chemistry efforts, were tested to determine a preliminary structure–activity relationship and, especially, to improve the inhibitory potency of the derivatives, that was indeed ameliorated by several folds compared to hit compound 5 Despite these progresses, at this stage, the most promising compound failed to interfere with bacterial growth when tested on a Gram-negative model organism, anticipating the need for further research efforts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Small Molecules as Antimicrobials)
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Open AccessArticle
Can Leaves and Stems of Rubus idaeus L. Handle Candida albicans Biofilms?
Pharmaceuticals 2020, 13(12), 477; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph13120477 - 18 Dec 2020
Viewed by 477
Abstract
Candida albicans is an opportunistic pathogen involved in many infections, especially linked to implanted medical devices. Its ability to form biofilms complicates the treatment of these infections as few molecules are active against sessile C. albicans. The aim of this study was [...] Read more.
Candida albicans is an opportunistic pathogen involved in many infections, especially linked to implanted medical devices. Its ability to form biofilms complicates the treatment of these infections as few molecules are active against sessile C. albicans. The aim of this study was to evaluate the potential of leaves, three-month-old and one-year-old stems of Rubus idaeus L. against C. albicans biofilm growth. Extractions with a polarity gradient were carried out on hydroacetonic extracts and followed by fractionation steps. The obtained extracts and fractions were tested for their anti-biofilm growth activity against C. albicans using XTT method. Compounds of active subfractions were identified by LC-MS. The hexane extracts from leaves and stems were the most active against the fungus with IC50 at 500 and 250 µg/mL. Their bioguided fractionation led to 4 subfractions with IC50 between 62.5 and 125 µg/mL. Most of the components identified in active subfractions were fatty acids and terpenoïds. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Small Molecules as Antimicrobials)
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Open AccessArticle
Synthesis and Biological Evaluation of Carvacrol-Based Derivatives as Dual Inhibitors of H. pylori Strains and AGS Cell Proliferation
Pharmaceuticals 2020, 13(11), 405; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph13110405 - 19 Nov 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 740
Abstract
This study reports on the synthesis, structural assessment, microbiological screening against several strains of H. pylori and antiproliferative activity against human gastric adenocarcinoma (AGS) cells of a large series of carvacrol-based compounds. Structural analyses consisted of elemental analysis, 1H/13C/19 [...] Read more.
This study reports on the synthesis, structural assessment, microbiological screening against several strains of H. pylori and antiproliferative activity against human gastric adenocarcinoma (AGS) cells of a large series of carvacrol-based compounds. Structural analyses consisted of elemental analysis, 1H/13C/19F NMR spectra and crystallographic studies. The structure-activity relationships evidenced that among ether derivatives the substitution with specific electron-withdrawing groups (CF3 and NO2) especially in the para position of the benzyl ring led to an improvement of the antimicrobial activity, whereas electron-donating groups on the benzyl ring and ethereal alkyl chains were not tolerated with respect to the parent compound (MIC/MBC = 64/64 µg/mL). Ester derivatives (coumarin-carvacrol hybrids) displayed a slight enhancement of the inhibitory activity up to MIC values of 8–16 µg/mL. The most interesting compounds exhibiting the lowest MIC/MBC activity against H. pylori (among others, compounds 16 and 39 endowed with MIC/MBC values ranging between 2/2 to 32/32 µg/mL against all the evaluated strains) were also assayed for their ability to reduce AGS cell growth with respect to 5-Fluorouracil. Some derivatives can be regarded as new lead compounds able to reduce H. pylori growth and to counteract the proliferation of AGS cells, both contributing to the occurrence of gastric cancer. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Small Molecules as Antimicrobials)
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Open AccessArticle
Design, Synthesis, and Antibacterial and Antifungal Activities of Novel Trifluoromethyl and Trifluoromethoxy Substituted Chalcone Derivatives
Pharmaceuticals 2020, 13(11), 375; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph13110375 - 09 Nov 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 986
Abstract
Despite the availability of many drugs to treat infectious diseases, the problems like narrow antimicrobial spectrum, drug resistance, hypersensitivities and systemic toxicities are hampering their clinical utility. Based on the above facts, in the present study, we designed, synthesized and evaluated the antibacterial [...] Read more.
Despite the availability of many drugs to treat infectious diseases, the problems like narrow antimicrobial spectrum, drug resistance, hypersensitivities and systemic toxicities are hampering their clinical utility. Based on the above facts, in the present study, we designed, synthesized and evaluated the antibacterial and antifungal activity of novel fluorinated compounds comprising of chalcones bearing trifluoromethyl (A1A10) and trifluoromethoxy (B1B10) substituents. The compounds were characterized by spectroscopic techniques and evaluated for their antimicrobial activity against four pathogenic Gram-positive (Staphylococcus aureus and Bacillus subtilis) and Gram-negative (Escherichia coli and Bacillus subtilis) bacterial and fungal (Candida albicans and Aspergillus niger) strains. In this study, the compounds with trifluoromethoxy group were more effective than those with trifluoromethyl group. Among the 20 fluorinated chalcones, compound A3/B3 bearing an indole ring attached to the olefinic carbon have been proved to possess the most antimicrobial activity compared to the standard drugs without showing cytotoxicity on human normal liver cell line (L02). Further, the minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) for A3/B3 was determined by serial tube dilution method and showed potential activity. These results would provide promising access to future study about the development of novel agents against bacterial and fungal infections. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Small Molecules as Antimicrobials)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Targeting Bacterial Sortases in Search of Anti-virulence Therapies with Low Risk of Resistance Development
Pharmaceuticals 2021, 14(5), 415; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph14050415 - 30 Apr 2021
Viewed by 172
Abstract
Increasingly ineffective antibiotics and rapid spread of multi- and pan-resistant bacteria represent a global health threat; hence, the need of developing new antimicrobial medicines. A first step in this direction is identifying new molecular targets, such as virulence factors. Sortase A represents a [...] Read more.
Increasingly ineffective antibiotics and rapid spread of multi- and pan-resistant bacteria represent a global health threat; hence, the need of developing new antimicrobial medicines. A first step in this direction is identifying new molecular targets, such as virulence factors. Sortase A represents a virulence factor essential for the pathogenesis of Gram-positive pathogens, some of which have a high risk for human health. We present here an exhaustive collection of sortases inhibitors grouped by relevant chemical features: vinyl sulfones, 3-aryl acrylic acids and derivatives, flavonoids, naphtoquinones, anthraquinones, indoles, pyrrolomycins, isoquinoline derivatives, aryl β-aminoethyl ketones, pyrazolethiones, pyridazinones, benzisothiazolinones, 2-phenyl-benzoxazole and 2-phenyl-benzofuran derivatives, thiadiazoles, triazolothiadiazoles, 2-(2-phenylhydrazinylidene)alkanoic acids, and 1,2,4-thiadiazolidine-3,5-dione. This review focuses on highlighting their structure–activity relationships, using the half maximal inhibitory concentration (IC50), when available, as an indicator of each compound effect on a specific sortase. The information herein is useful for acquiring knowledge on diverse natural and synthetic sortases inhibitors scaffolds and for understanding the way their structural variations impact IC50. It will hopefully be the inspiration for designing novel effective and safe sortase inhibitors in order to create new anti-infective compounds and to help overcoming the current worldwide antibiotic shortage. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Small Molecules as Antimicrobials)
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Open AccessReview
1,2,4-Triazoles as Important Antibacterial Agents
Pharmaceuticals 2021, 14(3), 224; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph14030224 - 07 Mar 2021
Viewed by 403
Abstract
The global spread of drug resistance in bacteria requires new potent and safe antimicrobial agents. Compounds containing the 1,2,4-triazole ring in their structure are characterised by multidirectional biological activity. A large volume of research on triazole and their derivatives has been carried out, [...] Read more.
The global spread of drug resistance in bacteria requires new potent and safe antimicrobial agents. Compounds containing the 1,2,4-triazole ring in their structure are characterised by multidirectional biological activity. A large volume of research on triazole and their derivatives has been carried out, proving significant antibacterial activity of this heterocyclic core. This review is useful for further investigations on this scaffold to harness its optimum antibacterial potential. Moreover, rational design and development of the novel antibacterial agents incorporating 1,2,4-triazole can help in dealing with the escalating problems of microbial resistance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Small Molecules as Antimicrobials)
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Open AccessReview
SAR Analysis of Small Molecules Interfering with Energy-Metabolism in Mycobacterium tuberculosis
Pharmaceuticals 2020, 13(9), 227; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph13090227 - 31 Aug 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1157
Abstract
Tuberculosis remains the world’s top infectious killer: it caused a total of 1.5 million deaths and 10 million people fell ill with TB in 2018. Thanks to TB diagnosis and treatment, mortality has been falling in recent years, with an estimated 58 million [...] Read more.
Tuberculosis remains the world’s top infectious killer: it caused a total of 1.5 million deaths and 10 million people fell ill with TB in 2018. Thanks to TB diagnosis and treatment, mortality has been falling in recent years, with an estimated 58 million saved lives between 2000 and 2018. However, the emergence of multidrug-resistant (MDR) and extensively drug-resistant (XDR) Mtb strains is a major concern that might reverse this progress. Therefore, the development of new drugs acting upon novel mechanisms of action is a high priority in the global health agenda. With the approval of bedaquiline, which targets mycobacterial energy production, and delamanid, which targets cell wall synthesis and energy production, the energy-metabolism in Mtb has received much attention in the last decade as a potential target to investigate and develop new antimycobacterial drugs. In this review, we describe potent anti-mycobacterial agents targeting the energy-metabolism at different steps with a special focus on structure-activity relationship (SAR) studies of the most advanced compound classes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Small Molecules as Antimicrobials)
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Open AccessReview
Polymyxin Delivery Systems: Recent Advances and Challenges
Pharmaceuticals 2020, 13(5), 83; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph13050083 - 29 Apr 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1262
Abstract
Polymyxins are vital antibiotics for the treatment of multiresistant Gram-negative ESKAPE pathogen infections. However, their clinical value is limited by their high nephrotoxicity and neurotoxicity, as well as their poor permeability and absorption in the gastrointestinal tract. This review focuses on various polymyxin [...] Read more.
Polymyxins are vital antibiotics for the treatment of multiresistant Gram-negative ESKAPE pathogen infections. However, their clinical value is limited by their high nephrotoxicity and neurotoxicity, as well as their poor permeability and absorption in the gastrointestinal tract. This review focuses on various polymyxin delivery systems that improve polymyxin bioavailability and reduce drug toxicity through targeted and controlled release. Currently, the most suitable systems for improving oral, inhalation, and parenteral polymyxin delivery are polymer particles, liposomes, and conjugates, while gels, polymer fibers, and membranes are attractive materials for topical administration of polymyxin for the treatment of infected wounds and burns. In general, the application of these systems protects polymyxin molecules from the negative effects of both physiological and pathological factors while achieving higher concentrations at the target site and reducing dosage and toxicity. Improving the properties of polymyxin will be of great interest to researchers who are focused on developing antimicrobial drugs that show increased efficacy and safety. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Small Molecules as Antimicrobials)
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