Jietacins, an azoxy antibiotic class of chemicals, were isolated from the culture broth of Streptomyces sp. KP-197. They have a unique structural motif, including a vinyl azoxy group and a long acyclic aliphatic chain, which is usually branched but non-branched in the case of jietacin C. During a drug discovery program, we found that jietacins display potent anthelmintic activity against parasitic nematodes and that jietacin A has a moderate or low acute toxicity (LD50 > 300 mg/kg) and no mutagenic potential in a mini Ames screen. This suggests that jietacins have potential for drug discovery research. In order to create a novel anthelmintic agent, we performed design, synthesis, and biological evaluation of jietacin derivatives against parasitic nematodes. Of these derivatives, we found that a fully synthesized simplified derivative exhibited better anthelmintic activity against three parasitic nematodes than natural jietacins. In addition, it had a better efficacy in vivo through oral administration against a mouse nematode. This indicated that the azoxy motif could prove useful as a template for anthelmintic discovery, possibly creating a class of anthelmintic with novel skeletons, a potential new mode of action, and providing further insight for rational drug design.
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