Various thio analogues of dihydroalkoxybenzyloxopyrimidines (DABOs), a new class of non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors, were found to selectively inhibit the HIV-1 multiplication in vitro. Among the C-5 H-substituted 6-benzyl-3,4-dihydro-4-oxopyrimidines, the introduction of alkylthio or cycloalkylthio substituents at C-2 of the pyrimidine ring led to derivatives (S-DABOs) which were up to 10-fold more potent than the alkyloxy or cycloalkyloxy counterparts. The further introduction of a methyl group at the 3'-position of the benzyl portion of 2-(alkylthio)-6-benzyluracils reduced the cytotoxicity leading to more selective compounds. Among C-5 methyl-substituted S-DABOs, numerous derivatives showed EC50 values as low as 0.6 microM and lacked cytotoxicity at doses as high as 300 microM. In the C-5 double methyl-substituted series, a more pronounced cytotoxicity was observed and the further introduction of a methyl at the 3'-position in the benzylidene group resulted in total loss of antiviral activity. S-DABOs, namely 2-(alkylthio)-6-benzyl-3,4-dihydro-4-oxopyrimidines, were synthesized by reacting proper methyl (phenylacetyl)acetates or their 2-methyl compounds with thiourea to afford 6-benzyl-4-oxo-1,2,3,4-tetrahydro-2-thiaoxopyrimidines or the related 5-methyl derivatives. Treatment of the latter derivatives with alkyl or cycloalkyl halides in alkaline medium gave the required title compounds.
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