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A series of acyclic phosphonate derivatives of thymine has been synthesized and tested as multisubstrate analogue inhibitors of Escherichia coli thymidine phosphorylase. The compounds synthesized include 1-(phosphonoalkyl)thymines with six to nine methylenes (1-4, respectively); 1-[(Z)-4-phosphonomethoxy-2-butenyl]thymine (5) and its butyl and 2,3-cis-dihydroxybutyl derivatives (6 and 7, respectively); 1-[(Z)-(4-(phosphonomethoxy)methoxy)-2-butenyl]thymine (8) and also its butyl and 2,3-cis-dihydroxybutyl analogues (9 and 10); and 1-[((Z)-4-(phosphonomethoxy)-2-butenoxy)methyl]thymine (11). Evaluation of these compounds against E. coli revealed significant enzymatic inhibition by 2, 3, 4, 6, and 8 at a concentration of 1000 microM, 3 and 4 being the most potent. Replacement of the thymine base in 3 by 6-amino-5-bromouracil and 7-deazaxanthine afforded compounds 12 and 13, which showed a pronounced improvement of TPase inhibition, comparable to 7-deazaxanthine. When inorganic phosphate was used as a variable substrate, compounds 12 and 13 displayed competitive kinetics with respect to phosphate, indicating a direct interaction of these compounds with the phosphate binding site. Also compounds 12 and 13 were found to be competitive inhibitors of TPase against thymidine as a variable substrate. These results are consistent with the compounds being multisubstrate analogue inhibitors of E. coli TPase, and they represent the first example of such TPase inhibitors.

Original publication




Journal article


Journal of medicinal chemistry

Publication Date





971 - 983


Instituto de Química Médica, C.S.I.C., Juan de la Cierva 3, 28006 Madrid, Spain.


Escherichia coli, Phosphonic Acids, Pyrimidinones, Uracil, Thymidine Phosphorylase, Thymidine, Enzyme Inhibitors, Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid, Structure-Activity Relationship, Substrate Specificity, Drug Design, Kinetics, Models, Molecular