Design, synthesis, and evaluation of substituted nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) synthetase inhibitors as potential antitubercular agents

Xu Wang, Yong Mo Ahn, Adam G. Lentscher, Julia S. Lister, Robert C. Brothers, Malea M. Kneen, Barbara Gerratana, Helena I. Boshoff, Cynthia S. Dowd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) synthetase catalyzes the last step in NAD+ biosynthesis. Depletion of NAD+ is bactericidal for both active and dormant Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb). By inhibiting NAD+ synthetase (NadE) from Mtb, we expect to eliminate NAD+ production which will result in cell death in both growing and nonreplicating Mtb. NadE inhibitors have been investigated against various pathogens, but few have been tested against Mtb. Here, we report on the expansion of a series of urea-sulfonamides, previously reported by Brouillette et al. Guided by docking studies, substituents on a terminal phenyl ring were varied to understand the structure–activity-relationships of substituents on this position. Compounds were tested as inhibitors of both recombinant Mtb NadE and Mtb whole cells. While the parent compound displayed very weak inhibition against Mtb NadE (IC50 = 1000 µM), we observed up to a 10-fold enhancement in potency after optimization. Replacement of the 3,4-dichloro group on the phenyl ring of the parent compound with 4-nitro yielded 4f, the most potent compound of the series with an IC50 value of 90 µM against Mtb NadE. Our modeling results show that these urea-sulfonamides potentially bind to the intramolecular ammonia tunnel, which transports ammonia from the glutaminase domain to the active site of the enzyme. This hypothesis is supported by data showing that, even when treated with potent inhibitors, NadE catalysis is restored when treated with exogenous ammonia. Most of these compounds also inhibited Mtb cell growth with MIC values of 19–100 µg/mL. These results improve our understanding of the SAR of the urea-sulfonamides, their mechanism of binding to the enzyme, and of Mtb NadE as a potential antitubercular drug target.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4426-4430
Number of pages5
JournalBioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry Letters
Issue number18
StatePublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Nigel Richards (Cardiff University) for helpful discussions throughout this project. This work was generously supported by the George Washington University (GWU) Department of Chemistry, the GWU University Facilitating Fund , the American Chemical Society (PRF to BG), the University of Maryland College Park Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, and the Division of Intramural Research, NIAID, NIH . A


  • Antibiotic
  • Antitubercular
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis
  • NadE

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