The Synthesis of L-Alanyl and β-Alanyl Derivatives of 2-Aminoacridone and Their Application in the Detection of Clinically-Important Microorganisms

Arthur James, Marie Cellier, Sylvain Orenga, John Perry, Graeme Turnbull, Stephen Stanforth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
15 Downloads (Pure)


In clinical microbiology the speed with which pathogenic microorganisms may be detected has a direct impact on patient health. One important strategy used in the laboratory is the growth of cultures in the presence of an enzymatic substrate which, once transformed by the appropriate microbial enzyme, generates a detectable colour or fluorescence output. Such substrates have previously been prepared by our group and others and are available as commercial diagnostic kits, however they all suffer from some degree of diffusion when used in a solid growth medium. This diffusion complicates the detection and differentiation of species in polymicrobial cultures and so we sought to improve on our previous work. In this work we have prepared and evaluated a series of novel fluorogenic enzyme substrates based on N-substituted-2-aminoacridones. All of the prepared substrates were found to be suitable for the detection and differentiation of certain microorganisms, however those based on the 2-amino-10-benzylacridone core in particular showed no apparent diffusion when incorporated into solid growth media. On transformation these substrates generated brightly fluorescent colonies that are clearly contrasted with the background medium due to the difference in emission wavelength (λem 445–450 nm for the substrate, λem 550 nm for the product). Here we have shown that our L-alanyl aminopeptidase substrate, 2-(N-L-alanylamino)-10-benzylacridone, is particularly suited to the detection of Gram-negative bacteria, and our β-alanyl aminopeptidase substrate, 2-(N- β-alanylamino)-10-benzylacridone, to the detection of Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Serratia marcescens when grown on solid media incorporating these substrates. The resulting fluorophore shows no apparent diffusion from the colonies of interest, and the enhanced sensitivity offered by fluorescent emission may allow for the detection of these organisms as microcolonies using automated fluorescence microscopy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e0158378
JournalPLoS One
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 8 Jul 2016


Dive into the research topics of 'The Synthesis of L-Alanyl and β-Alanyl Derivatives of 2-Aminoacridone and Their Application in the Detection of Clinically-Important Microorganisms'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this