2-Phenoxy-3-Trichloromethylquinoxalines Are Antiplasmodial Derivatives with Activity against the Apicoplast of Plasmodium falciparum

Dyhia Amrane, Christophe-Sébastien Arnold, Sébastien Hutter, Julen Sanz-Serrano, Miguel Collia, Amaya Azqueta, Lucie Paloque, Anita Cohen, Nadia Amanzougaghene, Shahin Tajeri, Jean-François Franetich, Dominique Mazier, Françoise Benoit-Vical, Pierre Verhaeghe, Nadine Azas, Patrice Vanelle, Cyrille Botté, Nicolas Primas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


The malaria parasite harbors a relict plastid called the apicoplast. Although not photosynthetic, the apicoplast retains unusual, non-mammalian metabolic pathways that are essential to the parasite, opening up a new perspective for the development of novel antimalarials which display a new mechanism of action. Based on the previous antiplasmodial hit-molecules identified in the 2-trichloromethylquinoxaline series, we report herein a structure–activity relationship (SAR) study at position two of the quinoxaline ring by synthesizing 20 new compounds. The biological evaluation highlighted a hit compound (3i) with a potent PfK1 EC50 value of 0.2 µM and a HepG2 CC50 value of 32 µM (Selectivity index = 160). Nitro-containing (3i) was not genotoxic, both in the Ames test and in vitro comet assay. Activity cliffs were observed when the 2-CCl3 group was replaced, showing that it played a key role in the antiplasmodial activity. Investigation of the mechanism of action showed that 3i presents a drug response by targeting the apicoplast and a quick-killing mechanism acting on another target site.

Original languageEnglish
Article number724
Number of pages24
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2021


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