ACS Infect Dis. 2021 Feb 16. doi: 10.1021/acsinfecdis.0c00849. Online ahead of print.
Effective strategies are needed to deal with invasive fungal infections caused by drug-resistant fungi. Previously, we designed a series of antifungal benzocyclane derivatives based on the drug repurposing of haloperidol. Herein, further structural optimization and antifungal mechanism studies were performed, leading to the discovery of new piperidol derivative B2 with improved synergistic antifungal potency, selectivity, and water solubility. In particular, the combination of compound B2 and fluconazole showed potent in vitro and in vivo antifungal activity against azole-resistant Candida albicans. Compound B2 inhibited important virulence factors by regulating virulence-associated genes and improved the efficacy of fluconazole by down-regulating the CYP51-coding gene and efflux pump gene. Taken together, the piperidol derivative B2 represents a promising lead compound for the combinational treatment of azole-resistant candidiasis.