Bacteriological profiling of diphenylureas as a novel class of antibiotics against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus

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Abstract

© 2017 Mohammad et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. Bacterial resistance to antibiotics remains an imposing global public health challenge. Of the most serious pathogens, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is problematic given strains have emerged that exhibit resistance to several antibiotic classes including β-lactams and agents of last resort such as vancomycin. New antibacterial agents composed of unique chemical scaffolds are needed to counter this public health challenge. The present study examines two synthetic diphenylurea compounds 1 and 2 that inhibit growth of clinically-relevant isolates of MRSA at concentrations as low as 4 µg/mL and are non-toxic to human colorectal cells at concentrations up to 128 μg/mL. Both compounds exhibit rapid bactericidal activity, completely eliminating a high inoculum of MRSA within four hours. MRSA mutants exhibiting resistance to 1 and 2 could not be isolated, indicating a low likelihood of rapid resistance emerging to these compounds. Bacterial cytological profiling revealed the diphenylureas exert their antibacterial activity by targeting bacterial cell wall synthesis. Both compounds demonstrate the ability to resensitize vancomycin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus to the effect of vancomycin. The present study lays the foundation for further investigation and development of diphenylurea compounds as a new class of antibacterial agents.

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Mohammad, H., Younis, W., Ezzat, H. G., Peters, C. E., Abdelkhalek, A., Cooper, B., … Seleem, M. N. (2017). Bacteriological profiling of diphenylureas as a novel class of antibiotics against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. PLoS ONE, 12(8). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0182821

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