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2021 - Straightforward synthesis of chiral non-racemic α-boryl isocyanides [Articolo su rivista]
Fini, Francesco; Zanni, Alessandro; Introvigne, Maria Luisa; Stucchi, Mattia; Caselli, Emilia; Prati, Fabio

A straightforward concise synthesis of chiral non-racemic aliphatic alpha-boryl isocyanides, relay intermediates for boron-based bioactive molecules in multicomponent reactions, is presented. The short synthetic sequence comprises as key steps copper-catalysed asymmetric borylation of imines, simultaneous nitrogen formylation/boron-protecting group interconversion and the final formamide dehydration reaction.

2020 - α-Triazolylboronic Acids: A Promising Scaffold for Effective Inhibitors of KPCs [Articolo su rivista]
Introvigne, M. L.; Taracila, M. A.; Prati, F.; Caselli, E.; Bonomo, R. A.

Boronic acids are known reversible covalent inhibitors of serine β-lactamases. The selectivity and high potency of specific boronates bearing an amide side chain that mimics the β-lactam's amide side chain have been advanced in several studies. Herein, we describe a new class of boronic acids in which the amide group is replaced by a bioisostere triazole. The boronic acids were obtained in a two-step synthesis that relies on the solid and versatile copper-catalyzed azide–alkyne cycloaddition (CuAAC) followed by boronate deprotection. All of the compounds show very good inhibition of the Klebsiella pneumoniae carbapenemase KPC-2, with Ki values ranging from 1 nM to 1 μM, and most of them are able to restore cefepime activity against K. pneumoniae harboring blaKPC-2. In particular, compound 1 e, bearing a sulfonamide substituted by a thiophene ring, proved to be an excellent KPC-2 inhibitor (Ki=30 nM); it restored cefepime susceptibility in KPC-Kpn cells (MIC=0.5 μg/mL) with values similar to that of vaborbactam (Ki=20 nM, MIC in KPC-Kpn 0.5 μg/mL). Our findings suggest that α-triazolylboronates might represent an effective scaffold for the treatment of KPC-mediated infections.

2020 - 1,2,3-Triazolylmethaneboronate: A Structure Activity Relationship Study of a Class of β-Lactamase Inhibitors against Acinetobacter baumannii Cephalosporinase [Articolo su rivista]
Caselli, E.; Fini, F.; Introvigne, M. L.; Stucchi, M.; Taracila, M. A.; Fish, E. R.; Smolen, K. A.; Rather, P. N.; Powers, R. A.; Wallar, B. J.; Bonomo, R. A.; Prati, F.

Boronic acid transition state inhibitors (BATSIs) are known reversible covalent inhibitors of serine β-lactamases. The selectivity and high potency of specific BATSIs bearing an amide side chain mimicking the β-lactam's amide side chain are an established and recognized synthetic strategy. Herein, we describe a new class of BATSIs where the amide group is replaced by a bioisostere triazole; these compounds were designed as molecular probes. To this end, a library of 26 α-triazolylmethaneboronic acids was synthesized and tested against the clinically concerning Acinetobacter-derived cephalosporinase, ADC-7. In steady state analyses, these compounds demonstrated Ki values ranging from 90 nM to 38 μM (±10%). Five compounds were crystallized in complex with ADC-7 β-lactamase, and all the crystal structures reveal the triazole is in the putative amide binding site, thus confirming the triazole-amide bioisosterism. The easy synthetic access of these new inhibitors as prototype scaffolds allows the insertion of a wide range of chemical groups able to explore the enzyme binding site and provides insights on the importance of specific residues in recognition and catalysis. The best inhibitor identified, compound 6q (Ki 90 nM), places a tolyl group near Arg340, making favorable cation-π interactions. Notably, the structure of 6q does not resemble the natural substrate of the β-lactamase yet displays a pronounced inhibition activity, in addition to lowering the minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) of ceftazidime against three bacterial strains expressing class C β-lactamases. In summary, these observations validate the α-triazolylboronic acids as a promising template for further inhibitor design.