ACS Omega. 2021 Sep 16;6(38):24981-25001. doi: 10.1021/acsomega.1c04016. eCollection 2021 Sep 28.
Demand has arisen for developing new azole antifungal agents with the growth of the resistant rate of infective fungal species to current azole antifungals in recent years. Accordingly, the present study reports the synthesis of novel fluconazole (FLC) analogues bearing urea functionality that led to discovering new azole agents with promising antifungal activities. In particular, compounds 8b and 8c displayed broad-spectrum activity and superior in vitro antifungal capabilities compared to the standard drug FLC against sensitive and resistant Candida albicans (C. albicans). The highly active compounds 8b and 8c had potent antibiofilm properties against FLC-resistant C. albicans species. Additionally, these compounds exhibited very low toxicity for three mammalian cell lines and human red blood cells. Time-kill studies revealed that our synthesized compounds displayed a fungicidal mechanism toward fungal growth. Furthermore, a density functional theory (DFT) calculation, additional docking, and independent gradient model (IGM) studies were performed to analyze their structure-activity relationship (SAR) and to assess the molecular interactions in the related target protein. Finally, in vivo results represented a significant reduction in the tissue fungal burden and improvements in the survival rate in a mice model of systemic candidiasis along with in vitro and in silico studies, demonstrating the therapeutic efficiency of compounds 8b and 8c as novel leads for candidiasis drug discovery.