Structure–Activity Relationships of a Diverse Class of Halogenated Phenazines That Targets Persistent, Antibiotic-Tolerant Bacterial Biofilms and Mycobacterium tuberculosis

Research paper by Aaron T. Garrison, Yasmeen Abouelhassan, Verrill M. Norwood, Dimitris Kallifidas, Fang Bai, Minh Thu Nguyen, Melanie Rolfe, Gena M. Burch, Shouguang Jin, Hendrik Luesch, Robert W. Huigens

Indexed on: 07 Apr '16Published on: 28 Mar '16Published in: Journal of Medicinal Chemistry


Persistent bacteria, including persister cells within surface-attached biofilms and slow-growing pathogens lead to chronic infections that are tolerant to antibiotics. Here, we describe the structure–activity relationships of a series of halogenated phenazines (HP) inspired by 2-bromo-1-hydroxyphenazine 1. Using multiple synthetic pathways, we probed diverse substitutions of the HP scaffold in the 2-, 4-, 7-, and 8-positions, providing critical information regarding their antibacterial and bacterial eradication profiles. Halogenated phenazine 14 proved to be the most potent biofilm-eradicating agent (≥99.9% persister cell killing) against MRSA (MBEC < 10 μM), MRSE (MBEC = 2.35 μM), and VRE (MBEC = 0.20 μM) biofilms while 11 and 12 demonstrated excellent antibacterial activity against M. tuberculosis (MIC = 3.13 μM). Unlike antimicrobial peptide mimics that eradicate biofilms through the general lysing of membranes, HPs do not lyse red blood cells. HPs are promising agents that effectively target persistent bacteria while demonstrating negligible toxicity against mammalian cells.

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