Org Biomol Chem. 2021 Jul 20. doi: 10.1039/d1ob01107c. Online ahead of print.
Antibiotic-resistant infections present significant challenges to patients. As a result, there is considerable need for new antibacterial therapies that eradicate pathogenic bacteria through non-conventional mechanisms. Our group has identified a series of halogenated phenazine (HP) agents that induce rapid iron starvation that leads to potent killing of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus biofilms. Here, we report the design, chemical synthesis and microbiological assessment of a HP-quinone ether prodrug model aimed to (1) eliminate general (off-target) iron chelation, and (2) release an active HP agent through the bioreduction of a quinone trigger. Here, we demonstrate prodrug analogue HP-29-Q to have a stable ether linkage that enables HP release and moderate to good antibacterial activities against lab strains and multi-drug resistant clinical isolates.