A series of berberine derivatives were synthesized by introducing substituted benzyl groups at C-9. All these synthesized compounds (4a-4m) were screened for their in vitro antibacterial activity against four Gram-positive bacteria and four Gram-negative bacteria and evaluated for their antifungal activity against three pathogenic fungal strains. All these compounds displayed good antibacterial and antifungal activities, compared to reference drugs including Ciprofloxacin and Fluconazole; Compounds 4f, 4g, and 4l showed the highest antibacterial and antifungal activities. Moreover, all the synthesized compounds were docked into topoisomerase II-DNA complex, which is a crucial drug target for the treatment of microbial infections. Docking results showed that H-bond, π-π stacked, π-cationic, and π-anionic interactions were responsible for the strong binding of the compounds with the target protein-DNA complex.
Keywords: Antimicrobial drugs; Berberine derivatives; Molecular docking; SAR; Topoisomerase II DNA gyrase.
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