Azobenzene-benzoylphenylureas as photoswitchable chitin synthesis inhibitors†
Benzoylphenylureas (BPUs) are used as synthetic insect growth regulators for inhibiting chitin synthesis. Merging insecticidal BPUs with photoswitchable azobenzene generated photoresponsive chitin synthesis inhibitors. A prepared azobenzene-benzoylphenylurea can be activated upon irradiation with UV light, and shows 6-fold and 2-fold activity difference to armyworm (Mythimna separata) and German cockroach (Blattella germanica) sulfonylurea receptors, respectively. This is the first example of a photoswitchable BPU insecticide. The generation of such a photoresponsive BPU insecticide allows for modulation of the insecticidal activity by light, and may facilitate the spatiotemporal control over the sulfonylurea receptor and the mechanistic study of this kind of insecticide.