1-Substituted-5-[(3,5-dinitrobenzyl)sulfanyl]-1H-tetrazoles and their isosteric analogs: A new class of selective antitubercular agents active against drug-susceptible and multidrug-resistant mycobacteria

Eur J Med Chem. 2014 Jul 23;82:324-40. doi: 10.1016/j.ejmech.2014.05.069. Epub 2014 Jun 2.


In this work, a new class of highly potent antituberculosis agents, 1-substituted-5-[(3,5-dinitrobenzyl)sulfanyl]-1H-tetrazoles and their oxa and selanyl analogs, is described. The minimal inhibitory concentration (MIC) values reached 1 μM (0.36-0.44 μg/mL) against Mycobacterium tuberculosis CNCTC My 331/88 and 0.25-1 μM against six multidrug-resistant clinically isolated strains of M. tuberculosis. The antimycobacterial effects of these compounds were highly specific because they were ineffective against all eight bacterial strains and eight fungal strains studied. Furthermore, these compounds exhibited low in vitro toxicity in four mammalian cell lines (IC50 > 30 μM). We also examined the structure-activity relationships of the compounds, particularly the effects on antimycobacterial activity of the number and position of the nitro groups, the linker between tetrazole and benzyl moieties, and the tetrazole itself. Relatively high variability of substituent R(1) on the tetrazole in the absence of negative effects on antimycobacterial activity allows further structural optimization with respect to toxicity and the ADME properties of the 1-substituted-5-[(3,5-dinitrobenzyl)sulfanyl]-1H-tetrazoles lead compounds.

Keywords: Antituberculosis drug; Mycobacterium; Selectivity; Structure–activity relationships; Tetrazole; Tuberculosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / chemical synthesis
  • Antineoplastic Agents / chemistry
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Antitubercular Agents / chemical synthesis
  • Antitubercular Agents / chemistry
  • Antitubercular Agents / pharmacology*
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Drug Resistance, Multiple, Bacterial / drug effects*
  • Drug Screening Assays, Antitumor
  • HeLa Cells
  • Hep G2 Cells
  • Humans
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Molecular Structure
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis / drug effects*
  • Nitrobenzenes / chemical synthesis
  • Nitrobenzenes / chemistry
  • Nitrobenzenes / pharmacology*
  • Structure-Activity Relationship
  • Triazoles / chemical synthesis
  • Triazoles / chemistry
  • Triazoles / pharmacology*
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Antitubercular Agents
  • Nitrobenzenes
  • Triazoles