Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Edward Turos, Ph.D.


Antibiotic, MRSA, FabH inhibitor, Fatty acid synthesis, Thiol transfer, Coenzyme A


Work in the Turos group over the past five years has focused on the development of N-alkylthio beta-lactams, which show antibacterial activity against Staphylococcus (including MRSA), Bacillus, and others. These compounds do not function in the manner of the traditional beta-lactam antibiotics, but were thought to undergo an intracellular thiol-transfer to coenzyme A. In expanding the SAR of these novel compounds, it was found that N-alkylthio-2-oxazolidinones also exhibit antibacterial activity. Although CoA acts as the thiol-redox buffer in the genera most susceptible to the N-alkylthio beta-lactams, studies on Coenzyme A disulfide reductase (CoADR) show that the redox buffer is not affected by these compounds. However, the recent finding that fatty acid synthesis is affected by the N-alkylthio beta-lactams led to the discovery that these compounds act as prodrugs, and that the asymmetric CoA disulfides produced by in vivo thiol transfer are potent inhibitors of beta-ketoacyl-acyl carrier protein synthase III (FabH) through a novel thiol-disulfide exchange with the active site cysteine. Lactams 2a and 2g were also found to be potent inhibitors of this enzyme. In an effort to produce a CoA mixed-disulfide mimic which could cross the cell membrane, a series of simple aryl-alkyl disulfides were synthesized and tested against E. coli, S. aureus, and B. subtilis. Several of these compounds were found to be very potent antibacterials both in vitro and in vivo, with MICs less than 0.125 micrograms/mL. Comparison of the activities of these disulfides with those of acyl-CoA analogs and CoA mixed disulfides support the assertion that FabH is indeed the cellular target of these potent new compounds.