Molecules (2020-12-01)

Bacterial Alkyl-4-quinolones: Discovery, Structural Diversity and Biological Properties

  • Muhammad Saalim,
  • Jessica Villegas-Moreno,
  • Benjamin R. Clark

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 25, no. 5689
p. 5689


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The alkyl-4-quinolones (AQs) are a class of metabolites produced primarily by members of the Pseudomonas and Burkholderia genera, consisting of a 4-quinolone core substituted by a range of pendant groups, most commonly at the C-2 position. The history of this class of compounds dates back to the 1940s, when a range of alkylquinolones with notable antibiotic properties were first isolated from Pseudomonas aeruginosa. More recently, it was discovered that an alkylquinolone derivative, the Pseudomonas Quinolone Signal (PQS) plays a key role in bacterial communication and quorum sensing in Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Many of the best-studied examples contain simple hydrocarbon side-chains, but more recent studies have revealed a wide range of structurally diverse examples from multiple bacterial genera, including those with aromatic, isoprenoid, or sulfur-containing side-chains. In addition to their well-known antimicrobial properties, alkylquinolones have been reported with antimalarial, antifungal, antialgal, and antioxidant properties. Here we review the structural diversity and biological activity of these intriguing metabolites.