The thienopyridine antiplatelet agent, ticlopidine and its analog, clopidogrel, have been shown to potentiate the action of β-lactam antibiotics, reversing the methicillin-resistance phenotype of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), in vitro. Interestingly, these thienopyridines inhibit the action of TarO, the first enzyme in the synthesis of wall teichoic acid, an important cell wall polymer in Gram-positive bacteria. In the human body, both ticlopidine and clopidogrel undergo a rapid P450-dependent oxidation into their respective antiplatelet-active metabolites, resulting in very low plasma concentrations of intact drug. Herein, a series of analogs of ticlopidine and clopidogrel that would avoid oxidative metabolism were designed, prepared and evaluated as inhibitors of TarO. Specifically, we replaced the P450-labile thiophene ring of ticlopidine and clopidogrel to a more stable phenyl group to generate 2-(2-chlorobenzyl)-1,2,3,4-tetrahydro-isoquinoline) (6) and (2-chloro-phenyl)-(3,4-dihydro-1H-isoquinolin-2-yl)-acetic acid methyl ester (22), respectively. The latter molecules displayed inhibitory activity against TarO and formed the basis of a library of analogs. Most synthesized compounds exhibited comparable efficacy to ticlopidine and clopidogrel. So far, it was introduction of a trifluoromethyl group to compound 6, to generate 2-(2-trifluoromethyl-benzyl)-1,2,3,4-tetrahydro-isoquinoline (13) that exhibited enhanced activity against TarO. Compound 13 represents a novel stable inhibitor of TarO with synergistic impact on β-lactam antibiotics against MRSA and low potential for P-450 metabolism.


Farha MA, Koteva K, Gale RT, Sewell EW, Wright GD, Brown ED.


Bioorg Med Chem Lett. 2014 Feb 1;24(3):905-10. doi: 10.1016/j.bmcl.2013.12.069. Epub 2013 Dec 23.