Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California


UC San Francisco Previously Published Works bannerUCSF

Xanthates: metabolism by flavoprotein-containing monooxygenases (FMO) and antimycobacterial activity


Ethionamide (ETH) plays a central role in the treatment of tuberculosis in patients resistant to the first-line drugs. The ETH, thioamide, and thiourea class of antituberculosis agents are prodrugs that are oxidatively converted to their active S-oxides by the mycobacterial flavin-dependent monooxygenase (EtaA) of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, thus initiating the chain of reactions that result in inhibition of mycolic acid biosynthesis and cell lysis. As part of a search for new lead candidates, we report here that several xanthates are oxidized by purified EtaA to S-oxide metabolites (perxanthates), which are implicated in the antimycobacterial activity of these compounds. This process, which is analogous to that responsible for activation of ETH, is also catalyzed by human flavoprotein monooxygenase 3. EtaA was not inhibited in a time-dependent manner during the reaction. Xanthates with longer alkyl chains were oxidized more efficiently. EtaA oxidized octyl-xanthate (Km = 5 µM; Vmax = 1.023 nmolP/min; kcat = 5.2 molP/min/molE) more efficiently than ETH (194 µM; 1.46 nmolP/min; 7.73 nmolP/min/molE, respectively). Furthermore, the in vitro antimycobacterial activity of four xanthates against M. tuberculosis H37Hv was higher (minimum inhibitory concentration of around 1 µM) than that of ETH (12 µM).

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC's open access policies. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View