Bacterial infections present a serious challenge to healthcare practitioners due to the emergence of resistance to numerous conventional antibacterial drugs. Therefore, new bacterial targets and new antimicrobials are unmet medical needs. Rhodanine derivatives have been shown to possess potent antimicrobial activity via a novel mechanism. However, their potential use as antibacterials has not been fully examined. In this study, we determined the spectrum of activity of seven rhodanine derivatives (compounds Rh 1-7) against clinical isolates of Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacterial strains and Candida albicans. We also synthesized and tested three additional compounds, ethyl ester and amide of rhodanine 2 (Rh 8 and Rh 10, respectively) and ethyl ester of rhodanine 3 (Rh 9) to determine the significance of the carboxyl group modification towards antibacterial activity and human serum albumin binding. A broth microdilution assay confirmed Rh 1-7 exhibit bactericidal activity against Gram-positive pathogens. Rh 2 had significant activity against various vancomycin- resistant (MIC90 = 4 μM) and methicillin-resistant (MIC90 = 4 μM) Staphylococcus aureus (VRSA and MRSA), Staphylococcus epidermidis (MIC = 4 μM) and vancomycinresistant Enterococcus (VRE) strains (MIC90 = 8 μM). The rhodanine compounds exhibited potent activity against Bacillus spp., including Bacillus anthracis, with MIC range of 2-8 μM. In addition, they had potent activity against Clostridium difficile. The most potent compound, Rh 2, at 4 and 8 times its MIC, significantly decreased S. epidermidis biofilm mass by more than 35% and 45%, respectively. None of the rhodanine compounds showed antimicrobial activity (MIC > 128 μM) against various 1) Gram-negative pathogens (Acinetobacter baumannii, Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumonia, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Salmonella Typhimurium) or 2) strains of Candida albicans (MIC > 64 μM). The MTS assay confirmed that rhodanines were not toxic to mouse murine macrophage (J774.1A) up to 64 μM, human keratinocytes (HaCat) up to 32 μM, and human ileocecal colorectal cell (HRT-18) up to 128 μM. Overall, these data suggest that certain rhodanine compounds may have potential use for the treatment of several multidrug-resistant Gram-positive bacterial infections. © 2016 AbdelKhalek 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.


AbdelKhalek, A., Ashby, C.R., Jr., Patel, B.A., Talele, T.T., Seleem, M.N. In vitro antibacterial activity of rhodanine derivatives against pathogenic clinical isolates. PLoS ONE, Volume 11, Issue 10, October 2016, Article number e0164227. http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0164227

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