Combinatorial synthesis and in vitro evaluation of a biaryl hydroxyketone library as antivirulence agents against MRSA

ACS Comb Sci. 2014 Feb 10;16(2):85-91. doi: 10.1021/co400142t. Epub 2014 Jan 9.


Antibiotic resistance coupled with decreased development of new antibiotics necessitates the search for novel antibacterial agents. Antivirulence agents offer an alternative to conventional antibiotics. In this work, we report on a family of small-molecule antivirulence agents against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), the most widespread bacterial pathogen. Structure-activity relationship studies led to the development of a concise synthesis of a 148-member biarylhydroxyketone library. An acylation bond-forming process afforded resorcinols (1) and aryloxy acetonitriles (2) as synthons. A Lewis-acid-activated Friedel-Crafts' acylation step involving a nitrile functionality of 2 by ZnCl2, followed by nucleophilic attack by 1 was executed to obtain biaryl hydroxyketones in excellent yields. A large number of products crystallized. This strategy affords a range of biarylhydroxyketones in a single step. This is the first collective synthetic study documenting access to this class of compounds through a single synthetic operation. In vitro efficacy of compounds in this library was evaluated by a rabbit erythrocyte hemolysis assay. The most efficacious compound, 4f-12, inhibits hemolysis by 98.1 ± 0.1% compared to control in the absence of the compound.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / chemistry*
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology
  • Combinatorial Chemistry Techniques / methods*
  • Drug Evaluation, Preclinical / methods
  • Ketones / chemistry
  • Ketones / pharmacology
  • Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus / drug effects*
  • Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus / physiology
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests / methods
  • Peptide Library*
  • Rabbits


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Ketones
  • Peptide Library