Probing the aurone scaffold against Plasmodium falciparum: Design, synthesis and antimalarial activity. A library comprising 44 diversely substituted aurones derivatives was synthesized by straightforward aldol condensation reactions of benzofuranones and the appropriately substituted benzaldehydes. Microwave enhanced synthesis using palladium catalyzed protocols was introduced as a powerful strategy for extending the chemical space around the aurone scaffold. Additionally, Mannich-base derivatives, containing a 7-aminomethyl-6-hydroxy substitution pattern at ring A, were also prepared. Screening against the chloroquine resistant Plasmodium falciparum W2 strain identified novel aurones with IC50 values in the low micromolar range.
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