Urease is an attractive drug target for designing anti-infective agents against pathogens such as Helicobacter pylori, Proteus mirabilis, and Ureaplasma urealyticum. In the past century, hundreds of medicinal chemists focused their efforts on explorations of urease inhibitors. Despite the FDA’s approval of acetohydroxamic acid as a urease inhibitor for the treatment of struvite nephrolithiasis and the widespread use of N-(n-butyl)thiophosphoric triamide as a soil urease inhibitor as nitrogen fertilizer synergists in agriculture, urease inhibitors with high potency and safety are urgently needed. Exploration of novel urease inhibitors has therefore become a hot research topic recently. Herein, inhibitors identified worldwide from 2016 to 2021 have been reviewed. They structurally belong to more than 20 classes of compounds such as urea/thioure analogues, hydroxamic acids, sulfonamides, metal complexes, and triazoles. Some inhibitors showed excellent potency with IC50 values lower than 10 nM, having 10000-fold higher potency than the positive control thiourea.
This article describes the design and synthesis of a series of novel amantadine-thiourea conjugates (3a–j) as Jack bean urease inhibitors. The synthesized hybrids were assayed for their in vitro urease inhibition. Accordingly, N-(adamantan-1-ylcarbamothioyl)octanamide (3j) possessing a 7-carbon alkyl chain showed excellent activity with IC50 value 0.0085 ± 0.0011 µM indicating that the long alkyl chain plays a vital role in enzyme inhibition. Whilst N-(adamantan-1-ylcarbamothioyl)-2-chlorobenzamide (3g) possessing a 2-chlorophenyl substitution was the next most efficient compound belonging to the aryl series with IC50 value of 0.0087 ± 0.001 µM. The kinetic mechanism analyzed by Lineweaver–Burk plots revealed the non-competitive mode of inhibition for compound 3j. Moreover, in silico molecular docking against target protein (PDBID 4H9M) indicated that most of the synthesized compounds exhibit good binding affinity with protein. The compound 3j forms two hydrogen bonds with amino acid residue VAL391 having a binding distance of 1.858 Å and 2.240 Å. The interaction of 3j with amino acid residue located outside the catalytic site showed its non-competitive mode of inhibition. Based upon these results, it is anticipated that compound 3j may serve as a lead structure for the design of more potent urease inhibitors.