To develop more effective inhibitors than fosmidomycin, a natural compound which inhibits the deoxyxylulose 5-phosphate reductoisomerase (DXR), the second enzyme of the MEP pathway, we designed molecules possessing on the one hand a catechol that is able to chelate the magnesium dication and on the other hand a group able to occupy the NADPH recognition site. Catechol-rhodanine derivatives (1-6) were synthesized and their potential inhibition was tested on the DXR of Escherichia coli. For the inhibitors 1 and 2, the presence of detergent in the enzymatic assays led to a dramatic decrease of the inhibition suggesting, that these compounds are rather promiscuous inhibitors. The compounds 4 and 5 kept their inhibition capacity in the presence of Triton X100 and could be considered as specific inhibitors of DXR. Compound 4 showed antimicrobial activity against Escherichia coli. The only partial protection of NADPH against the inhibition suggested that the catechol-rhodanine derivatives did not settle in the coenzyme binding site. This paper points out the necessity to include a detergent in the DXR enzymatic assays to avoid false positive when putative hydrophobic inhibitors are tested and especially when the IC50, are in the micromolar range.
Keywords: Catechol–rhodanines; DXR; False positives; Isoprenoid; Promiscuous inhibitors.
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