Recent Submissions

  • 2-Hydroxysorangiadenosine: Structure and Biosynthesis of a Myxobacterial Sesquiterpene-Nucleoside.

    Okoth, Dorothy A; Hug, Joachim J; Garcia, Ronald; Spröer, Cathrin; Overmann, Jörg; Müller, Rolf; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (MDPI, 2020-06-09)
    Myxobacteria represent an under-investigated source for biologically active natural products featuring intriguing structural moieties with potential applications, e.g., in the pharmaceutical industry. Sorangiadenosine and the here-discovered 2-hydroxysorangiadenosine are myxobacterial sesquiterpene-nucleosides with an unusual structural moiety, a bicyclic eudesmane-type sesquiterpene. As the biosynthesis of these rare terpene-nucleoside hybrid natural products remains elusive, we investigated secondary metabolomes and genomes of several 2-hydroxysorangiadenosine-producing myxobacteria. We report the isolation and full structure elucidation of 2-hydroxysorangiadenosine and its cytotoxic and antibiotic activities and propose a biosynthetic pathway in the myxobacterium Vitiosangium cumulatum MCy10943T.
  • SphereCon-a method for precise estimation of residue relative solvent accessible area from limited structural information.

    Gress, Alexander; Kalinina, Olga V; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (Oxford Academic, 2020-03-10)
    Motivation: In proteins, solvent accessibility of individual residues is a factor contributing to their importance for protein function and stability. Hence one might wish to calculate solvent accessibility in order to predict the impact of mutations, their pathogenicity and for other biomedical applications. A direct computation of solvent accessibility is only possible if all atoms of a protein three-dimensional structure are reliably resolved. Results: We present SphereCon, a new precise measure that can estimate residue relative solvent accessibility (RSA) from limited data. The measure is based on calculating the volume of intersection of a sphere with a cone cut out in the direction opposite of the residue with surrounding atoms. We propose a method for estimating the position and volume of residue atoms in cases when they are not known from the structure, or when the structural data are unreliable or missing. We show that in cases of reliable input structures, SphereCon correlates almost perfectly with the directly computed RSA, and outperforms other previously suggested indirect methods. Moreover, SphereCon is the only measure that yields accurate results when the identities of amino acids are unknown. A significant novel feature of SphereCon is that it can estimate RSA from inter-residue distance and contact matrices, without any information about the actual atom coordinates.
  • Thioholgamide A, a New Anti-Proliferative Anti-Tumor Agent, Modulates Macrophage Polarization and Metabolism.

    Dahlem, Charlotte; Siow, Wei Xiong; Lopatniuk, Maria; Tse, William K F; Kessler, Sonja M; Kirsch, Susanne H; Hoppstädter, Jessica; Vollmar, Angelika M; Müller, Rolf; Luzhetskyy, Andriy; et al. (MDPI, 2020-05-19)
    Natural products represent powerful tools searching for novel anticancer drugs. Thioholgamide A (thioA) is a ribosomally synthesized and post-translationally modified peptide, which has been identified as a product of Streptomyces sp. MUSC 136T. In this study, we provide a comprehensive biological profile of thioA, elucidating its effects on different hallmarks of cancer in tumor cells as well as in macrophages as crucial players of the tumor microenvironment. In 2D and 3D in vitro cell culture models thioA showed potent anti-proliferative activities in cancer cells at nanomolar concentrations. Anti-proliferative actions were confirmed in vivo in zebrafish embryos. Cytotoxicity was only induced at several-fold higher concentrations, as assessed by live-cell microscopy and biochemical analyses. ThioA exhibited a potent modulation of cell metabolism by inhibiting oxidative phosphorylation, as determined in a live-cell metabolic assay platform. The metabolic modulation caused a repolarization of in vitro differentiated and polarized tumor-promoting human monocyte-derived macrophages: ThioA-treated macrophages showed an altered morphology and a modulated expression of genes and surface markers. Taken together, the metabolic regulator thioA revealed low activities in non-tumorigenic cells and an interesting anti-cancer profile by orchestrating different hallmarks of cancer, both in tumor cells as well as in macrophages as part of the tumor microenvironment.
  • Expansion of functional personalized cells with specific transgene combinations.

    Lipps, Christoph; Klein, Franziska; Wahlicht, Tom; Seiffert, Virginia; Butueva, Milada; Zauers, Jeannette; Truschel, Theresa; Luckner, Martin; Köster, Mario; MacLeod, Roderick; et al. (Springer Nature, 2018-03-08)
    Fundamental research and drug development for personalized medicine necessitates cell cultures from defined genetic backgrounds. However, providing sufficient numbers of authentic cells from individuals poses a challenge. Here, we present a new strategy for rapid cell expansion that overcomes current limitations. Using a small gene library, we expanded primary cells from different tissues, donors, and species. Cell-type-specific regimens that allow the reproducible creation of cell lines were identified. In depth characterization of a series of endothelial and hepatocytic cell lines confirmed phenotypic stability and functionality. Applying this technology enables rapid, efficient, and reliable production of unlimited numbers of personalized cells. As such, these cell systems support mechanistic studies, epidemiological research, and tailored drug development.
  • Nonocarbolines A-E, -Carboline Antibiotics Produced by the Rare Actinobacterium sp. from Indonesia.

    Primahana, Gian; Risdian, Chandra; Mozef, Tjandrawati; Sudarman, Enge; Köck, Matthias; Wink, Joachim; Stadler, Marc; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (MDPI, 2020-03-17)
    During the course of our ongoing screening for novel biologically active secondary metabolites, the rare Actinobacterium, Nonomuraea sp. 1808210CR was found to produce five unprecedented β-carboline derivatives, nonocarbolines A-E (1-5). Their structures were elucidated from high-resolution mass spectrometry, 1D and 2D nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, and the absolute configuration of 4 was determined by using the modified Mosher method. Nonocarboline B (2) displayed moderate antifungal activity against Mucor hiemalis, while nonocarboline D (4) exhibited significant cytotoxic activity against the human lung carcinoma cell line A-549 with the IC50 value of 1.7 µM.
  • Squalenyl Hydrogen Sulfate Nanoparticles for Simultaneous Delivery of Tobramycin and an Alkylquinolone Quorum Sensing Inhibitor Enable the Eradication of P. aeruginosa Biofilm Infections.

    Ho, Duy-Khiet; Murgia, Xabier; de Rossi, Chiara; Christmann, Rebekka; Hüfner de Mello Martins, Antonio G; Koch, Marcus; Andreas, Anastasia; Herrmann, Jennifer; Müller, Rolf; Empting, Martin; et al. (Wiley, 2020-04-03)
    Elimination of pulmonary Pseudomonas aeruginosa (PA) infections is challenging to accomplish with antibiotic therapies, mainly due to resistance mechanisms. Quorum sensing inhibitors (QSIs) interfering with biofilm formation can thus complement antibiotics. For simultaneous and improved delivery of both active agents to the infection sites, self-assembling nanoparticles of a newly synthesized squalenyl hydrogen sulfate (SqNPs) were prepared. These nanocarriers allowed for remarkably high loading capacities of hydrophilic antibiotic tobramycin (Tob) and a novel lipophilic QSI at 30 % and circa 10 %, respectively. The drug-loaded SqNPs showed improved biofilm penetration and enhanced efficacy in relevant biological barriers (mucin/human tracheal mucus, biofilm), leading to complete eradication of PA biofilms at circa 16-fold lower Tob concentration than Tob alone. This study offers a viable therapy optimization and invigorates the research and development of QSIs for clinical use.
  • Toxicokinetics and toxicodynamics of the fentanyl homologs cyclopropanoyl-1-benzyl-4´-fluoro-4-anilinopiperidine and furanoyl-1-benzyl-4-anilinopiperidine.

    Gampfer, Tanja M; Wagmann, Lea; Park, Yu Mi; Cannaert, Annelies; Herrmann, Jennifer; Fischmann, Svenja; Westphal, Folker; Müller, Rolf; Stove, Christophe P; Meyer, Markus R; et al. (Springer Nature, 2020-04-05)
    The two fentanyl homologs cyclopropanoyl-1-benzyl-4´-fluoro-4-anilinopiperidine (4F-Cy-BAP) and furanoyl-1-benzyl-4-anilinopiperidine (Fu-BAP) have recently been seized as new psychoactive substances (NPS) on the drugs of abuse market. As their toxicokinetic and toxicodynamic characteristics are completely unknown, this study focused on elucidating their in vitro metabolic stability in pooled human liver S9 fraction (pHLS9), their qualitative in vitro (pHLS9), and in vivo (zebrafish larvae) metabolism, and their in vitro isozyme mapping using recombinant expressed isoenzymes. Their maximum-tolerated concentration (MTC) in zebrafish larvae was studied from 0.01 to 100 µM. Their µ-opioid receptor (MOR) activity was analyzed in engineered human embryonic kidney (HEK) 293 T cells. In total, seven phase I and one phase II metabolites of 4F-Cy-BAP and 15 phase I and four phase II metabolites of Fu-BAP were tentatively identified by means of liquid chromatography high-resolution tandem mass spectrometry, with the majority detected in zebrafish larvae. N-Dealkylation, N-deacylation, hydroxylation, and N-oxidation were the most abundant metabolic reactions and the corresponding metabolites are expected to be promising analytical targets for toxicological analysis. Isozyme mapping revealed the main involvement of CYP3A4 in the phase I metabolism of 4F-Cy-BAP and in terms of Fu-BAP additionally CYP2D6. Therefore, drug-drug interactions by CYP3A4 inhibition may cause elevated drug levels and unwanted adverse effects. MTC experiments revealed malformations and changes in the behavior of larvae after exposure to 100 µM Fu-BAP. Both substances were only able to produce a weak activation of MOR and although toxic effects based on MOR activation seem unlikely, activity at other receptors cannot be excluded
  • Palstimolide A: A Complex Polyhydroxy Macrolide with Antiparasitic Activity.

    Keller, Lena; Siqueira-Neto, Jair L; Souza, Julia M; Eribez, Korina; LaMonte, Gregory M; Smith, Jennifer E; Gerwick, William H; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (MDPI, 2020-03-31)
    Marine Cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) have been shown to possess an enormous potential to produce structurally diverse natural products that exhibit a broad spectrum of potent biological activities, including cytotoxic, antifungal, antiparasitic, antiviral, and antibacterial activities. Here, we report the isolation and structure determination of palstimolide A, a complex polyhydroxy macrolide with a 40-membered ring that was isolated from a tropical marine cyanobacterium collected at Palmyra Atoll. NMR-guided fractionation in combination with MS2-based molecular networking and isolation via HPLC yielded 0.7 mg of the pure compound. The small quantity isolated along with the presence of significant signal degeneracy in both the 1H and 13C-NMR spectra complicated the structure elucidation of palstimolide A. Various NMR experiments and solvent systems were employed, including the LRHSQMBC experiment that allows the detection of long-range 1H-13C correlation data across 4-, 5-, and even 6-bonds. This expanded NMR data set enabled the elucidation of the palstimolide's planar structure, which is characterized by several 1,5-disposed hydroxy groups as well as a tert-butyl group. The compound showed potent antimalarial activity with an IC50 of 223 nM as well as interesting anti-leishmanial activity with an IC50 of 4.67 µM.
  • Synthesis and Biological Evaluation of Novel 2-Substituted ­Analogues of (-)-Pentenomycin i

    Zisopoulou, Stavroula A.; Bousis, Spyridon; Haupenthal, Jörg; Herrmann, Jennifer; Müller, Rolf; Hirsch, Anna K.H.; Komiotis, Dimitri; Gallos, John K.; Stathakis, Christos I.; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (Thieme, 2020-03-17)
    A library of novel 2-substituted derivatives of the antibiotic natural product pentenomycin I is presented. The new collection of analogues is divided in two main classes, 2-alkynyl- and 2-aryl- derivatives, which are accessed by the appropriate type of palladium-catalyzed cross-coupling reaction of the 2-iodo-protected pentenomycin I with suitable nucleophiles. The new derivatives were tested for their activity against certain types of bacteria and one of them, compound 8h, was found to exhibit significant inhibitory activity against several Gram-positive bacteria but also displayed cytotoxic activity against eukaryotic cell lines.
  • Myxobakterielle Naturstofffabriken

    Krug, Daniel; Garcia, Ronald; Müller, Rolf; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (Springer Nature, 2020-02-01)
    Myxococcus xanthus is a prime example of soil-living myxobacteria featuring a complex lifestyle, including coordinated movement through swarming, predatory feeding on other microorganisms, and the formation of multicellular fruiting bodies. Due to its biosynthetic capabilities for secondary metabolite production and its applicability as biotechno-logical chassis organism for heterologous expression, Myxococcus stands out as a biochemical factory for bioactive molecules with future applications, not only in human therap
  • Identification and Heterologous Expression of the Albucidin Gene Cluster from the Marine Strain Subsp. NRRL B-24108.

    Myronovskyi, Maksym; Rosenkränzer, Birgit; Stierhof, Marc; Petzke, Lutz; Seiser, Tobias; Luzhetskyy, Andriy; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (MDPI, 2020-02-10)
    Herbicides with new modes of action and safer toxicological and environmental profiles are needed to manage the evolution of weeds that are resistant to commercial herbicides. The unparalleled structural diversity of natural products makes these compounds a promising source for new herbicides. In 2009, a novel nucleoside phytotoxin, albucidin, with broad activity against grass and broadleaf weeds was isolated from a strain of Streptomyces albus subsp. chlorinus NRRL B-24108. Here, we report the identification and heterologous expression of the previously uncharacterized albucidin gene cluster. Through a series of gene inactivation experiments, a minimal set of albucidin biosynthetic genes was determined. Based on gene annotation and sequence homology, a model for albucidin biosynthesis was suggested. The presented results enable the construction of producer strains for a sustainable supply of albucidin for biological activity studies.
  • Diversity and Bioactive Potential of Actinobacteria from Unexplored Regions of Western Ghats, India.

    Siddharth, Saket; Vittal, Ravishankar Rai; Wink, Joachim; Steinert, Michael; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (MDPI, 2020-02-07)
    The search for novel bioactive metabolites continues to be of much importance around the world for pharmaceutical, agricultural, and industrial applications. Actinobacteria constitute one of the extremely interesting groups of microorganisms widely used as important biological contributors for a wide range of novel secondary metabolites. This study focused on the assessment of antimicrobial and antioxidant activity of crude extracts of actinobacterial strains. Western Ghats of India represents unique regions of biologically diverse areas called "hot spots". A total of 32 isolates were obtained from soil samples of different forest locations of Bisle Ghat and Virjapet situated in Western Ghats of Karnataka, India. The isolates were identified as species of Streptomyces, Nocardiopsis, and Nocardioides by cultural, morphological, and molecular studies. Based on preliminary screening, seven isolates were chosen for metabolites extraction and to determine antimicrobial activity qualitatively (disc diffusion method) and quantitatively (micro dilution method) and scavenging activity against DPPH (2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl) and ABTS(2,2'-Azino-bis(3-ethylbenzothiazoline-6-sulfonic acid) radicals. Crude extracts of all seven isolates exhibited fairly strong antibacterial activity towards MRSA strains (MRSA ATCC 33591, MRSA ATCC NR-46071, and MRSA ATCC 46171) with MIC varying from 15.62 to 125 μg/mL, whereas showed less inhibition potential towards Gram-negative bacteria Salmonella typhi (ATCC 25241) and Escherichia coli (ATCC 11775) with MIC of 125-500 μg/mL. The isolates namely S1A, SS5, SCA35, and SCA 11 inhibited Fusariummoniliforme (MTCC 6576) to a maximum extent with MIC ranging from 62.5 to 250 μg/mL. Crude extract of SCA 11 and SCA 13 exhibited potent scavenging activities against DPPH and ABTS radicals. The results from this study suggest that actinobacterial strains of Western Ghats are an excellent source of natural antimicrobial and antioxidant compounds. Further research investigations on purification, recovery, and structural characterization of the active compounds are to be carried out.
  • The glucocorticoid-induced leucine zipper mediates statin-induced muscle damage.

    Hoppstädter, Jessica; Valbuena Perez, Jenny Vanessa; Linnenberger, Rebecca; Dahlem, Charlotte; Legroux, Thierry M; Hecksteden, Anne; Tse, William K F; Flamini, Sara; Andreas, Anastasia; Herrmann, Jennifer; et al. (Wiley, 2020-02-06)
    Statins, the most prescribed class of drugs for the treatment of hypercholesterolemia, can cause muscle-related adverse effects. It has been shown that the glucocorticoid-induced leucine zipper (GILZ) plays a key role in the anti-myogenic action of dexamethasone. In the present study, we aimed to evaluate the role of GILZ in statin-induced myopathy. Statins induced GILZ expression in C2C12 cells, primary murine myoblasts/myotubes, primary human myoblasts, and in vivo in zebrafish embryos and human quadriceps femoris muscle. Gilz induction was mediated by FOXO3 activation and binding to the Gilz promoter, and could be reversed by the addition of geranylgeranyl, but not farnesyl, pyrophosphate. Atorvastatin decreased Akt phosphorylation and increased cleaved caspase-3 levels in myoblasts. This effect was reversed in myoblasts from GILZ knockout mice. Similarly, myofibers isolated from knockout animals were more resistant toward statin-induced cell death than their wild-type counterparts. Statins also impaired myoblast differentiation, and this effect was accompanied by GILZ induction. The in vivo relevance of our findings was supported by the observation that gilz overexpression in zebrafish embryos led to impaired embryonic muscle development. Taken together, our data point toward GILZ as an essential mediator of the molecular mechanisms leading to statin-induced muscle damage.
  • Benzanthric Acid, a Novel Metabolite From Del14 Expressing the Nybomycin Gene Cluster.

    Rodríguez Estévez, Marta; Gummerlich, Nils; Myronovskyi, Maksym; Zapp, Josef; Luzhetskyy, Andriy; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (Frontiers, 2019-01-01)
    Streptomycetes constitute a diverse bacterial group able to produce a wide variety of secondary metabolites with potential applications in the pharmacy industry. However, the genes responsible for the biosynthesis of these compounds are very frequently inactive or expressed at very low levels under standard laboratory cultivation conditions. Therefore, the activation or upregulation of secondary metabolite biosynthesis genes is a crucial step for the discovery of new bioactive natural products. We have recently reported the discovery of the biosynthetic genes for the antibiotic nybomycin (nyb genes) in Streptomyces albus subsp. chlorinus. The nyb genes were expressed in the heterologous host Streptomyces albus Del14, which produces not only nybomycin, but also a novel compound. In this study, we describe the isolation, purification, and structure elucidation of the new substance named benzanthric acid.
  • Discovery of Novel Latency-Associated Nuclear Antigen Inhibitors as Antiviral Agents Against Kaposi's Sarcoma-Associated Herpesvirus.

    Kirsch, Philine; Jakob, Valentin; Elgaher, Walid A M; Walt, Christine; Oberhausen, Kevin; Schulz, Thomas F; Empting, Martin; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany.;HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (American Chemical Society (ACS), 2020-01-24)
    With the aim to develop novel antiviral agents against Kaposi's Sarcoma Herpesvirus (KSHV), we are targeting the latency-associated nuclear antigen (LANA). This protein plays an important role in viral genome maintenance during latent infection. LANA has the ability to tether the viral genome to the host nucleosomes and, thus, ensures latent persistence of the viral genome in the host cells. By inhibition of the LANA-DNA interaction, we seek to eliminate or reduce the load of the viral DNA in the host. To achieve this goal, we screened our in-house library using a dedicated fluorescence polarization (FP)-based competition assay, which allows for the quantification of LANA-DNA-interaction inhibition by small organic molecules. We successfully identified three different compound classes capable of disrupting this protein-nucleic acid interaction. We characterized these compounds by IC50 dose-response evaluation and confirmed the compound-LANA interaction using surface plasmon resonance (SPR) spectroscopy. Furthermore, two of the three hit scaffolds showed only marginal cytotoxicity in two human cell lines. Finally, we conducted STD-NMR competition experiments with our new hit compounds and a previously described fragment-sized inhibitor. Based on these results, future compound linking approaches could serve as a promising strategy for further optimization studies in order to generate highly potent KSHV inhibitors.
  • The Translational Machinery of Human CD4 T Cells Is Poised for Activation and Controls the Switch from Quiescence to Metabolic Remodeling.

    Ricciardi, Sara; Manfrini, Nicola; Alfieri, Roberta; Calamita, Piera; Crosti, Maria Cristina; Gallo, Simone; Müller, Rolf; Pagani, Massimiliano; Abrignani, Sergio; Biffo, Stefano; et al. (Elsevier/ Cell Press, 2018-12-04)
    Naive T cells respond to T cell receptor (TCR) activation by leaving quiescence, remodeling metabolism, initiating expansion, and differentiating toward effector T cells. The molecular mechanisms coordinating the naive to effector transition are central to the functioning of the immune system, but remain elusive. Here, we discover that T cells fulfill this transitional process through translational control. Naive cells accumulate untranslated mRNAs encoding for glycolysis and fatty acid synthesis factors and possess a translational machinery poised for immediate protein synthesis. Upon TCR engagement, activation of the translational machinery leads to synthesis of GLUT1 protein to drive glucose entry. Subsequently, translation of ACC1 mRNA completes metabolic reprogramming toward an effector phenotype. Notably, inhibition of the eIF4F complex abrogates lymphocyte metabolic activation and differentiation, suggesting ACC1 to be a key regulatory node. Thus, our results demonstrate that translation is a direct mediator of T cell metabolism and indicate translation factors as targets for novel immunotherapeutic approaches.
  • Myxobacteria-Derived Outer Membrane Vesicles: Potential Applicability Against Intracellular Infections.

    Goes, Adriely; Lapuhs, Philipp; Kuhn, Thomas; Schulz, Eilien; Richter, Robert; Panter, Fabian; Dahlem, Charlotte; Koch, Marcus; Garcia, Ronald; Kiemer, Alexandra K; et al. (MDPI, 2020-01-12)
    In 2019, it was estimated that 2.5 million people die from lower tract respiratory infections annually. One of the main causes of these infections is Staphylococcus aureus, a bacterium that can invade and survive within mammalian cells. S. aureus intracellular infections are difficult to treat because several classes of antibiotics are unable to permeate through the cell wall and reach the pathogen. This condition increases the need for new therapeutic avenues, able to deliver antibiotics efficiently. In this work, we obtained outer membrane vesicles (OMVs) derived from the myxobacteria Cystobacter velatus strain Cbv34 and Cystobacter ferrugineus strain Cbfe23, that are naturally antimicrobial, to target intracellular infections, and investigated how they can affect the viability of epithelial and macrophage cell lines. We evaluated by cytometric bead array whether they induce the expression of proinflammatory cytokines in blood immune cells. Using confocal laser scanning microscopy and flow cytometry, we also investigated their interaction and uptake into mammalian cells. Finally, we studied the effect of OMVs on planktonic and intracellular S. aureus. We found that while Cbv34 OMVs were not cytotoxic to cells at any concentration tested, Cbfe23 OMVs affected the viability of macrophages, leading to a 50% decrease at a concentration of 125,000 OMVs/cell. We observed only little to moderate stimulation of release of TNF-alpha, IL-8, IL-6 and IL-1beta by both OMVs. Cbfe23 OMVs have better interaction with the cells than Cbv34 OMVs, being taken up faster by them, but both seem to remain mostly on the cell surface after 24 h of incubation. This, however, did not impair their bacteriostatic activity against intracellular S. aureus. In this study, we provide an important basis for implementing OMVs in the treatment of intracellular infections.
  • Cystobactamid 507: Concise Synthesis, Mode of Action and Optimization toward More Potent Antibiotics.

    Elgaher, Walid A M; Hamed, Mostafa M; Baumann, Sascha; Herrmann, Jennifer; Siebenbürger, Lorenz; Krull, Jana; Cirnski, Katarina; Kirschning, Andreas; Brönstrup, Mark; Müller, Rolf; et al. (Wiley-VCH, 2020-01-26)
    Lack of new antibiotics and increasing antimicrobial resistance are the main concerns of healthcare community nowadays, which necessitate the search for novel antibacterial agents. Recently, we discovered the cystobactamids - a novel natural class of antibiotics with broad-spectrum antibacterial activity. In this work, we describe a concise total synthesis of cystobactamid 507, the identification of the bioactive conformation using non-covalently bonded rigid analogs, the first structure–activity relationship (SAR) study for cystobactamid 507 leading to new analogs with high metabolic stability, superior topoisomerase IIA inhibition, antibacterial activity and, importantly, stability toward the resistant factor AlbD. Deeper insight into the mode of action revealed that the cystobactamids employ DNA minor groove binding as part of the drug–target interaction without showing significant intercalation. By designing a new analog of cystobactamid 919-2 we finally demonstrated that these findings could be further exploited to obtain more potent hexapeptides against Gram-negative bacteria.
  • The Alkylquinolone Repertoire of Pseudomonas aeruginosa is Linked to Structural Flexibility of the FabH-like 2-Heptyl-3-hydroxy-4(1H)-quinolone (PQS) Biosynthesis Enzyme PqsBC.

    Witzgall, Florian; Depke, Tobias; Hoffmann, Michael; Empting, Martin; Brönstrup, Mark; Müller, Rolf; Blankenfeldt, Wulf; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Wiley-VCH, 2018-07-16)
    Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a bacterial pathogen that causes life-threatening infections in immunocompromised patients. It produces a large armory of saturated and mono-unsaturated 2-alkyl-4(1H)-quinolones (AQs) and AQ N-oxides (AQNOs) that serve as signaling molecules to control the production of virulence factors and that are involved in membrane vesicle formation and iron chelation; furthermore, they also have, for example, antibiotic properties. It has been shown that the β-ketoacyl-acyl-carrier protein synthase III (FabH)-like heterodimeric enzyme PqsBC catalyzes the last step in the biosynthesis of the most abundant AQ congener, 2-heptyl-4(1H)-quinolone (HHQ), by condensing octanoyl-coenzyme A (CoA) with 2-aminobenzoylacetate (2-ABA), but the basis for the large number of other AQs/AQNOs produced by P. aeruginosa is not known. Here, we demonstrate that PqsBC uses different medium-chain acyl-CoAs to produce various saturated AQs/AQNOs and that it also biosynthesizes mono-unsaturated congeners. Further, we determined the structures of PqsBC in four different crystal forms at 1.5 to 2.7 Å resolution. Together with a previous report, the data reveal that PqsBC adopts open, intermediate, and closed conformations that alter the shape of the acyl-binding cavity and explain the promiscuity of PqsBC. The different conformations also allow us to propose a model for structural transitions that accompany the catalytic cycle of PqsBC that might have broader implications for other FabH-enzymes, for which such structural transitions have been postulated but have never been observed.
  • Chivosazole A Modulates Protein-Protein Interactions of Actin.

    Wang, Shuaijun; Gegenfurtner, Florian A; Crevenna, Alvaro H; Ziegenhain, Christoph; Kliesmete, Zane; Enard, Wolfgang; Müller, Rolf; Vollmar, Angelika M; Schneider, Sabine; Zahler, Stefan; et al. (American Society for Chemistry, 2019-07-26)
    Actin is a protein of central importance for many cellular key processes. It is regulated by local interactions with a large number of actin binding proteins (ABPs). Various compounds are known to either increase or decrease the polymerization dynamics of actin. However, no actin binding compound has been developed for clinical applications yet because of selectivity issues. We provide a crystal structure of the natural product chivosazole A (ChivoA) bound to actin and show that-in addition to inhibiting nucleation, polymerization, and severing of F-actin filaments-it selectively modulates binding of ABPs to G-actin: Although unphysiological actin dimers are induced by ChivoA, interaction with gelsolin, profilin, cofilin, and thymosin-β4 is inhibited. Moreover, ChivoA causes transcriptional effects differing from latrunculin B, an actin binder with a different binding site. Our data show that ChivoA and related compounds could serve as scaffolds for the development of actin binding molecules selectively targeting specific actin functions.

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