N-aryl-oxazolidinones is a prominent family of antimicrobials used for treating infections caused by clinically prevalent Gram-positive bacteria. Recently, boron-containing compounds have displayed intriguing potential in the antibiotic discovery setting. Herein, we report the unprecedented introduction of a boron-containing moiety such as an aryl boronic acid in the external region of the oxazolidinone structure via a chemoselective acyl coupling reaction. As a result, we accessed a series of analogues with a distal aryl boronic pharmacophore on the oxazolidinone scaffold. We identified that a peripheric linear conformation coupled with freedom of rotation and no further substitution on the external aryl boronic ring, an amido linkage with hydrogen bonding character, in addition to a para-relative disposition between boronic group and linker, are the optimal combination of structural features in this series for antimicrobial activity. In comparison to linezolid, the analogue comprising all those features, compound 20b, displayed levels of antimicrobial activity augmented by an eight-fold to a thirty-two-fold against a panel of Gram-positive strains, and a near one hundred-fold against Escherichia coli JW5503, a Gram-negative mutant strain with a defective efflux capability.
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