Small Core Heterocyclic Carbamates and Carboxamides: Resistance-breaking Acetylcholinesterase Inhibitors Targeting the Malaria Mosquito, Anopheles gambiae

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Virginia Tech


Malaria is one of the deadliest diseases known to mankind. In 2010, 219 million cases were reported, and 666,000 deaths were attributed to this disease. In the past, pyrethroid-treated mosquito nets have shown efficacy in reducing malaria transmission in many malaria endemic regions. However, an upsurge in the mosquito population that is resistant to pyrethroids threatens to compromise the efficacy of pyrethroid-treated bed nets. In an effort to develop another class of insecticide with a different mode of action, we have explored three classes of five membered heterocyclic carbamates (isoxazol-3-yl, pyrazol-5-yl, and pyrazol-4-yl), and 3-oxoisoxazole- 2(3H)-carboxamide as acetylcholinesterase inhibitors (AChE) targeting wild type (G3) and resistant (Akron) malaria mosquito Anopheles gambiae (Ag). Isoxazole carboxamide and carbamates were obtained regioselectively through judicious use of two different protocols. The final products were characterized and identified using ¹H and ¹³C NMR, and mass spectroscopy. In addition, the carboxamide structure was confirmed using X-ray diffraction. Several of the novel carbamates and carboxamides evaluated exhibited excellent toxicity towards susceptible G3 and resistant Akron strain An. gambiae (48f LC₅₀ G3 = 41 μg/mL, LC₅₀ Akron = 58 μg/mL, and 47i LC₅₀ G3 = 38 μg/mL, LC₅₀ Akron = 40 μg/mL). Hence, achieving the resistance- breaking goal. On the contrary, the commercial aryl methylcarbamates currently approved for indoor residual sprays (IRS) showed no potency towards the resistant strain An. gambiae (LC₅₀ G3 = 16-42 μg/mL, and LC₅₀ Akron >5,000 μg/mL). Further, we observed low toxicological cross-resistance ratios (RR) for the toxic isoxazol-3-yl and pyrazol-4-yl carbamates, and 3- oxoisoxazole-2(3H)-carboxamides (RR = 0.5-2.0). Amongst the commercial AChE inhibitors approved for IRS, only aldicarb exhibited such low RR (RR = 0.5), whereas the RR for commercial aryl methylcarbamates exceed 130-fold. The low RR observed for these novel heterocyclic inhibitors would certainly be favorable for a new anticholinesterase-based mosquitocide targeting both the susceptible and resistant strain mosquitoes. Although the overall selectivity (Ag vs human) did not exceed 24-fold, the heterocyclic carbamates and carboxamides synthesized by the author showed appreciable inhibition of resistant AChE (G119S) in comparison to commercial aryl carbamates, which showed no inhibition at all.

During the course of this project, the isoxazol-3-yl and pyrazol-5-yl methylcarbamates proved to be unstable, and thus could not be isolated. The synthesis of pyrazol-4-yl methylcarbamates using N-methylcarbamoyl chloride proved particularly challenging due to the formation of by-products called allophanates. The similar Rf of the by-product and the desired final product made the isolation laborious and time-consuming. We have successfully overcome this problem by employing a new protocol, where triphosgene served as the carbonylating agent and N-methylamine in THF was used as the amine source. In addition, we have also developed another one-pot protocol for a safer synthesis of pyrazol-4-yl methylcarbamates utilizing 1,1- carbonyldiimidazole (CDI), and N-methylamine hydrogen chloride salt. With the pyrazol-4-yl core, apart from achieving excellent toxicity towards both strains of An. gambiae, we have also achieved excellent AgAChE vs hAChE selectivity (Ag vs h >100-fold). Due to our continued interest in developing this core, we have devised a convenient, scalable, no-column approach for the synthesis an intermediate 103 that can be utilized to synthesize these compounds more efficiently.



Acetylcholinesterase, 1,2-azoles, Anopheles gambiae, heterocyclic carbamates and carboxamides, isoxazole, insecticide treated nets, malaria, pyrazoles, propoxur, insecticide resistance, species-selective inhibitors.