Synthesis and structure-activity relationships of nitrobenzyl phosphoramide mustards as nitroreductase-activated prodrugs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


  • L Hu
  • X Wu
  • J Han
  • L Chen
  • P Browne
  • BS Hall
  • C Bot
  • V Gobalakrishnapillai
  • RJ Knox
  • SR Wilkinson

Colleges, School and Institutes


A series of nitrobenzyl phosphoramide mustards and their analogs was designed and synthesized to explore their structure-activity relationships as substrates of nitroreductases from Escherichia coli and trypanosomes and as potential antiproliferative and antiparasitic agents. The position of the nitro group on the phenyl ring was important with the 4-nitrobenzyl phosphoramide mustard (1) offering the best combination of enzyme activity and antiproliferative effect against both mammalian and trypanosomatid cells. A preference was observed for halogen substitutions ortho to benzyl phosphoramide mustard but distinct differences were found in their SAR of substituted 4-nitrobenzyl phosphoramide mustards in E. coli nitroreductase-expressing cells and in trypanosomatids expressing endogenous nitroreductases. (C) 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3986-3991
Number of pages6
JournalBioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry Letters
Issue number13
Early online date7 May 2011
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2011


  • Nitroreductase, Leishmania, Trypanosoma, Phosphoramide mustard, Antiproliferative, Prodrug