Isoniazid (INH) is one of the key molecules employed in the treatment of tuberculosis (TB), the most deadly infectious disease worldwide. However, the efficacy of this cornerstone drug has seriously decreased due to emerging INH-resistant strains of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb). In the present study, we aimed to chemically tailor INH to overcome this resistance. We obtained thirteen novel compounds by linking INH to in-house synthesized sulfonate esters via a hydrazone bridge (SIH1-SIH13). Following structural characterization by FTIR, 1H NMR, 13C NMR, and HRMS, all compounds were screened for their antitubercular activity against Mtb H37Rv strain and INH-resistant clinical isolates carrying katG and inhA mutations. Additionally, the cytotoxic effects of SIH1-SIH13 were assessed on three different healthy host cell lines; HEK293, IMR-90, and BEAS-2B. Based on the obtained data, the synthesized compounds appeared as attractive antimycobacterial drug candidates with low cytotoxicity. Moreover, the stability of the hydrazone moiety in the chemical structure of the final compounds was confirmed by using UV/Vis spectroscopy in both aqueous medium and DMSO. Subsequently, the compounds were tested for their inhibitory activities against enoyl acyl carrier protein reductase (InhA), the primary target enzyme of INH. Although most of the synthesized compounds are hosted by the InhA binding pocket, SIH1-SIH13 do not primarily show their antitubercular activities by direct InhA inhibition. Finally, in silico determination of important physicochemical parameters of the molecules showed that SIH1-SIH13 adhered to Lipinski's rule of five. Overall, our study revealed a new strategy for modifying INH to cope with the emerging drug-resistant strains of Mtb.
Keywords: InhA; Mycobacterium tuberculosis; antimycobacterial; drug-resistant clinical isolates; molecular modeling.