Nitropropenyl Benzodioxole, An Anti-Infective Agent with Action as a Protein Tyrosine Phosphatase Inhibitor

Kylie S. White*, Gina Nicoletti , Robert Borland
School of Applied Sciences, College of Science, Engineering and Technology, RMIT University, 124 Latrobe St, Victoria, 3000, Australia

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© White et al.; Licensee Bentham Open.

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* Address correspondence to this author at the School of Applied Sciences, College of Science, Engineering and Health, RMIT University, Victoria, Australia; Tel: +61399257140; E-mail:


We report on the activities of a broad spectrum antimicrobial compound,nitropropenyl benzodioxole (NPBD) which are of relevance to its potential as an anti-infective drug. These investigations support the proposal that a major mechanism of NPBD is action as a tyrosine mimetic, competitively inhibiting bacterial and fungal protein tyrosine phosphatases (PTP).

NPBD did not affect major anti-bacterial drug targets, namely, ATP production, cell wall or cell membrane integrity, or transcription and translation of RNA. NPBD inhibited bacterial YopH and human PTP1B and not human CD45 in enzyme assays. NPBD inhibited PTP-associated bacterial virulence factors, namely, endospore formation in Bacillus cereus, prodigiosin secretion in Serratia marcescens, motility in Proteus spp., and adherence and invasion of mammalian cells by Yersinia enterocolitica. NPBD acts intracellularly to inhibit the early development stages of the Chlamydia trachomatis infection cycle in mammalian cells known to involve sequestration of host cell PTPs. NPBD thus both kills pathogens and inhibits virulence factors relevant to early infection, making it a suitable candidate for development as an anti-infective agent, particularly for pathogens that enter through, or cause infections at, mucosal surfaces. Though much is yet to be understood about bacterial PTPs, they are proposed as suitable anti-infective targets and have been linked to agents similar to NPBD. The structural and functional diversity and heterogeneous distribution of PTPs across microbial species make them suitably selective targets for the development of both broadly active and pathogen-specific drugs.

Keywords: Antimicrobial agent, nitropropenyl benzodioxole, tyrosine phosphatase inhibitor, virulence factor inhibition.