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Pure Appl. Chem., 2007, Vol. 79, No. 12, pp. 2143-2153

Some approaches to new antibacterial agents

John B. Bremner

Department of Chemistry, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, NSW 2522, Australia

Abstract: Bacteria use a number of resistance mechanisms to counter the antibacterial challenge, and one of these is the expression of transmembrane protein-based efflux pumps which can pump out antibacterials from within the cells, thus lowering the antibacterial concentration to nonlethal levels. For example, in S. aureus, the NorA pump can pump out the antibacterial alkaloid berberine and ciprofloxacin. One general strategy to reduce the health threat of resistant bacteria is to block a major bacterial resistance mechanism at the same time as interfering with another bacterial pathway or target site. New developments of this approach in the context of dual-action prodrugs and dual-action (or hybrid) drugs in which one action is targeted at blocking the NorA efflux pump and the second action at an alternative bacterial target site (or sites) for the antibacterial action are discussed. The compounds are based on a combination of 2-aryl-5-nitro-1H-indole derivatives (as the NorA efflux pump blocking component) and derivatives of berberine. General design principles, syntheses, antibacterial testing, and preliminary work on modes of action studies are discussed.