We report one-pot synthesis of a series of new 3-aryl-8-methylquinazolin-4(3H)-ones (QNZ) and their antimicrobial activity against Acanthamoeba castellanii belonging to T4 genotype. A library of fifteen synthetic derivatives of QNZs was synthesized, and their structural elucidation was performed by using nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy and electron impact mass spectrometry (EI-MS). Elemental analyses and high-resolution mass spectrometry data of all derivatives were found to be in agreeable range. Amoebicidal assays performed at concentrations ranging from 50 to 100 μg/mL revealed that all derivatives of QNZ significantly decreased the viability of A. castellanii and QNZ 2, 5, 8, and 13 were found to have efficient antiamoebic effects. Field emission scanning electron microscopy (FESEM) imaging of amoeba treated with compounds 5 and 15 showed that these compounds cause structural alterations on the walls of A. castellanii. Furthermore, several QNZs inhibited the encystation and excystationas as well as abolished A. castellanii-mediated host cells cytopathogenicity in human cells. Whereas, these QNZs showed negligible cytotoxicity when tested against human cells in vitro. Hence, this study identified potential lead molecules having promising properties for drug development against A. castellanii. A brief structure-activity relationship is also developed to optimize the hit of most potent compounds from the library. To the best of our knowledge, it is first of its kind medicinal chemistry approach on a single class of compounds i.e., quinazolinone against keratitis and brain infection causing free-living amoeba, A. castellanii.
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