Document Type




First Advisor's Name

Stanislaw Wnuk

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Kevin O'Shea

Third Advisor's Name

Watson Lees

Fourth Advisor's Name

Kalai Mathee

Fifth Advisor's Name

Jeffrey Joens


Quorim sensing, LuxS, LuxS inhibitors, AHL, Aza sugars, hemiaminal, Imine, lactam

Date of Defense



Quorum sensing (QS) is a population-dependent signaling process bacteria use to control multiple processes including virulence, critical for establishing infection. There are two major pathways of QS systems. Type 1 is species specific or intra-species communication in which N-acylhomoserine lactones (Gram-negative bacteria) or oligopeptides (Gram-positive bacteria) are employed as signaling molecules (autoinducer one). Type 2 is inter-species communication in which S-4,5-dihydroxy-2,3-pentanedione (DPD) or its borate esters are used as signaling molecules. The DPD is biosynthesized by LuxS enzyme from S-ribosylhomocysteine (SRH).

Recent increase in prevalence of bacterial strains resistant to antibiotics emphasizes the need for the development of new generation of antibacterial agents. Interruption of QS by small molecules is one of the viable options as it does not affect bacterial growth but only virulence, leading to less incidence of microbial resistance. Thus, in this work, inhibitors of both N-acylhomoserine lactone (AHL) mediated intra-species and LuxS enzyme, involved in inter-species QS are targeted.

The γ-lactam and their reduced cyclic azahemiacetal analogs, bearing the additional alkylthiomethyl substituent, were designed and synthesized targeting AHL mediated QS systems in P. aeruginosa and Vibrio harveyi. The γ-lactams with nonylthio or dodecylthio chains acted as inhibitors of las signaling in P. aeruginosa with moderate potency. The cyclic azahemiacetal with shorter propylthio or hexylthio substituent were found to strongly inhibit both las and rhl signaling in P. aeruginosa at higher concentrations. However, lactam and their azahemiacetal analogs were found to be inactive in V. harveyi QS systems.

The 4-aza-S-ribosyl-L-homocysteine (4-aza-SRH) analogs and 2-deoxy-2-substituted-S-ribosyl-L-homocysteine analogs were designed and synthesized targeting Bacillus subtilis LuxS enzyme. The 4-aza-SRH analogs in which oxygen in ribose ring is replaced by nitrogen were further modified at anomeric position to produce pyrrolidine, lactam, nitrone, imine and hemiaminal analogs. Pyrrolidine and lactam analogs which lack anomeric hydroxyl, acted as competitive inhibitors of LuxS enzyme with KI value of 49 and 37 µM respectively. The 2,3-dideoxy lactam analogs were devoid of activity. Such findings attested the significance of hydroxyl groups for LuxS binding and activity. Hemiaminal analog of SRH was found to be a time-dependent inhibitor with IC50 value of 60 µM.





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