A copper(II)-binding triazole derivative with ionophore properties is active against Candida spp.

A. Gaspar-Cordeiro, S. da Silva, M. Aguiar, C. Rodrigues-Pousada, H. Haas, L. M.P. Lima, C. Pimentel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Abstract: Invasive fungal infections (IFIs) are life threatening and existing antifungal drugs are not completely effective due to undesirable side effects and resistance emergence. Azoles are often the treatment of choice for IFIs and growing evidence suggests that copper can act synergistically with these drugs. In this work, we designed a compound bringing together azole and copper(II)-binding groups and studied the molecular mechanisms underlying its biological toxicity. Our results show that both the compound, 4, and its copper(II) complex, Cu.4, are active against Candida spp. We found that Cu.4 acts as a copper(II) ionophore, which results in the intracellular accumulation of reactive oxygen species (ROS), whereas compound 4 is an iron chelator and exerts its toxicity by decreasing iron bioavailability. Interestingly, while 4 is not very toxic to macrophages or HeLa cells, Cu.4 significantly affects their viability. Overall, this work provides evidence of how copper can be combined with azoles to deregulate copper homeostasis, opening new horizons for the development of bifunctional antifungals. Graphic abstract: [Figure not available: see fulltext.]

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1117-1128
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Biological Inorganic Chemistry
Volume25
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020

Keywords

  • Antifungal
  • Azole
  • Candida spp
  • Copper

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