head of the department: Prof. Müller

Recent Submissions

  • How to Study the Metabolism of New Psychoactive Substances for the Purpose of Toxicological Screenings-A Follow-Up Study Comparing Pooled Human Liver S9, HepaRG Cells, and Zebrafish Larvae.

    Wagmann, Lea; Frankenfeld, Fabian; Park, Yu Mi; Herrmann, Jennifer; Fischmann, Svenja; Westphal, Folker; Müller, Rolf; Flockerzi, Veit; Meyer, Markus R; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (Frontiers, 2020-07-17)
    The new psychoactive substances (NPS) market continues to be very dynamic. A large number of compounds belonging to diverse chemical groups continue to emerge. This makes their detection in biological samples challenging for clinical and forensic toxicologists. Knowledge of the metabolic fate of NPS is crucial for developing comprehensive screening procedures. As human studies are not feasible due to ethical concerns, the current study aimed to compare the NPS' metabolic pattern in incubations with pooled human liver S9 fraction (pHLS9), human liver HepaRG cells, and zebrafish larvae. The latter model was recently shown to be a promising preclinical surrogate for human hepatic metabolism of a synthetic cannabinoid. However, studies concerning other NPS classes are still missing and therefore an amphetamine-based N-methoxybenzyl (NBOMe) compound, a synthetic cathinone, a pyrrolidinophenone analog, a lysergamide, as well as another synthetic cannabinoid were included in the current study. Liquid chromatography coupled to Orbitrap-based high-resolution tandem mass spectrometry was used to analyze metabolic data. Zebrafish larvae were found to produce the highest number of phase I but also phase II metabolites (79 metabolites in total), followed by HepaRG cells (66 metabolites). Incubations with pHLS9 produced the least metabolites (57 metabolites). Furthermore, the involvement of monooxygenases and esterases in the metabolic phase I transformations of 4F-MDMB-BINACA was elucidated using single-enzyme incubations. Several cytochrome P450 (CYP) isozymes were shown to contribute, and CYP3A5 was involved in all CYP-catalyzed reactions, while amide and ester hydrolysis were catalyzed by the human carboxylesterase (hCES) isoforms hCES1b and/or hCES1c. Finally, metabolites were compared to those present in human biosamples if data were available. Overall, the metabolic patterns in HepaRG cells provided the worst overlap with that in human biosamples. Zebrafish larvae experiments agreed best with data found in human plasma and urine analysis. The current study underlines the potential of zebrafish larvae as a tool for elucidating the toxicokinetics of NPS in the future.
  • Comparative Target Analysis of Chlorinated Biphenyl Antimicrobials Highlights MenG as a Molecular Target of Triclocarban.

    Macsics, Robert; Hackl, Mathias W; Fetzer, Christian; Mostert, Dietrich; Bender, Jennifer; Layer, Franziska; Sieber, Stephan A; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (2020-08-03)
    Triclocarban (TCC), a formerly used disinfectant, kills bacteria via an unknown mechanism of action. A structural hallmark is its N,N'-diaryl urea motif, which is also present in other antibiotics, including the recently reported small molecule PK150. We show here that, like PK150, TCC exhibits an inhibitory effect on Staphylococcus aureus menaquinone metabolism via inhibition of the biosynthesis protein demethylmenaquinone methyltransferase (MenG). However, the activity spectrum (MIC90) of TCC across a broad range of multidrug-resistant staphylococcus and enterococcus strains was much narrower than that of PK150. Accordingly, TCC did not cause an overactivation of signal peptidase SpsB, a hallmark of the PK150 mode of action. Furthermore, we were able to rule out inhibition of FabI, a confirmed target of the diaryl ether antibiotic triclosan (TCS). Differences in the target profiles of TCC and TCS were further investigated by proteomic analysis, showing complex but rather distinct changes in the protein expression profile of S. aureus Downregulation of the arginine deiminase pathway provided additional evidence for an effect on bacterial energy metabolism by TCC.IMPORTANCE TCC's widespread use as an antimicrobial agent has made it a ubiquitous environmental pollutant despite its withdrawal due to ecological and toxicological concerns. With its antibacterial mechanism of action still being unknown, we undertook a comparative target analysis between TCC, PK150 (a recently discovered antibacterial compound with structural resemblance to TCC), and TCS (another widely employed chlorinated biphenyl antimicrobial) in the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus We show that there are distinct differences in each compound's mode of action, but also identify a shared target between TCC and PK150, the interference with menaquinone metabolism by inhibition of MenG. The prevailing differences, however, which also manifest in a remarkably better broad-spectrum activity of PK150, suggest that even high levels of TCC or TCS resistance observed by continuous environmental exposure may not affect the potential of PK150 or related N,N'-diaryl urea compounds as new antibiotic drug candidates against multidrug-resistant infections.
  • ClbR Is the Key Transcriptional Activator of Colibactin Gene Expression in Escherichia coli.

    Wallenstein, Alexander; Rehm, Nadine; Brinkmann, Marina; Selle, Martina; Bossuet-Greif, Nadège; Sauer, Daniel; Bunk, Boyke; Spröer, Cathrin; Wami, Haleluya Tesfaye; Homburg, Stefan; et al. (ASM, 2020-07-15)
    Colibactin is a nonribosomal peptide/polyketide hybrid natural product expressed by different members of the Enterobacteriaceae which can be correlated with induction of DNA double-strand breaks and interference with cell cycle progression in eukaryotes. Regulatory features of colibactin expression are only incompletely understood. We used Escherichia coli strain M1/5 as a model to investigate regulation of expression of the colibactin determinant at the transcriptional level and to characterize regulatory elements located within the colibactin pathogenicity island itself. We measured clbR transcription in vitro and observed that cultivation in defined minimal media led to increased colibactin expression relative to rich media. Transcription of clbR directly responds to iron availability. We also characterized structural DNA elements inside the colibactin determinant involved in ClbR-dependent regulation, i.e., ClbR binding sites and a variable number of tandem repeats located upstream of clbR We investigated the impact of clbR overexpression or deletion at the transcriptome and proteome levels. Moreover, we compared global gene regulation under these conditions with that occurring upon overexpression or deletion of clbQ, which affects the flux of colibactin production. Combining the results of the transcriptome and proteome analyses with indirect measurements of colibactin levels by cell culture assays and an approximate quantification of colibactin via the second product of colibactin cleavage from precolibactin, N-myristoyl-d-asparagine, we demonstrate that the variable number of tandem repeats plays a significant regulatory role in colibactin expression. We identify ClbR as the only transcriptional activator known so far that is specific and essential for efficient regulation of colibactin production.IMPORTANCE The nonribosomal peptide/polyketide hybrid colibactin can be considered a bacterial virulence factor involved in extraintestinal infection and also a procarcinogen. Nevertheless, and despite its genotoxic effect, colibactin expression can also inhibit bacterial or tumor growth and correlates with probiotic anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. Although the biological function of this natural compound has been studied extensively, our understanding of the regulation of colibactin expression is still far from complete. We investigated in detail the role of regulatory elements involved in colibactin expression and in the growth conditions that promote colibactin expression. In this way, our data shed light on the regulatory mechanisms involved in colibactin expression and may support the expression and purification of this interesting nonribosomal peptide/polyketide hybrid for further molecular characterization.
  • Dual-Seq reveals genome and transcriptome of Caedibacter taeniospiralis, obligate endosymbiont of Paramecium.

    Pirritano, Marcello; Zaburannyi, Nestor; Grosser, Katrin; Gasparoni, Gilles; Müller, Rolf; Simon, Martin; Schrallhammer, Martina; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (NPG, 2020-06-16)
    Interest in host-symbiont interactions is continuously increasing, not only due to the growing recognition of the importance of microbiomes. Starting with the detection and description of novel symbionts, attention moves to the molecular consequences and innovations of symbioses. However, molecular analysis requires genomic data which is difficult to obtain from obligate intracellular and uncultivated bacteria. We report the identification of the Caedibacter genome, an obligate symbiont of the ciliate Paramecium. The infection does not only confer the host with the ability to kill other cells but also renders them immune against this effect. We obtained the C. taeniospiralis genome and transcriptome by dual-Seq of DNA and RNA from infected paramecia. Comparison of codon usage and expression level indicates that genes necessary for a specific trait of this symbiosis, i.e. the delivery of an unknown toxin, result from horizontal gene transfer hinting to the relevance of DNA transfer for acquiring new characters. Prediction of secreted proteins of Caedibacter as major agents of contact with the host implies, next to several toxin candidates, a rather uncharacterized secretome which appears to be highly adapted to this symbiosis. Our data provides new insights into the molecular establishment and evolution of this obligate symbiosis and for the pathway characterization of toxicity and immunity.
  • A combination of genetics and microbiota influences the severity of the obesity phenotype in diet-induced obesity.

    Smoczek, Margarethe; Vital, Marius; Wedekind, Dirk; Basic, Marijana; Zschemisch, Nils-Holger; Pieper, Dietmar H; Siebert, Anja; Bleich, Andre; Buettner, Manuela; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (NPG, 2020-04-09)
    Obesity has emerged as a major global health problem and is associated with various diseases, such as metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes mellitus, and cardiovascular diseases. The inbred C57BL/6 mouse strain is often used for various experimental investigations, such as metabolic research. However, over time, genetically distinguishable C57BL/6 substrains have evolved. The manifestation of genetic alterations has resulted in behavioral and metabolic differences. In this study, a comparison of diet-induced obesity in C57BL/6JHanZtm, C57BL/6NCrl and C57BL/6 J mice revealed several metabolic and immunological differences such as blood glucose level and cytokine expression, respectively, among these C57BL/6 substrains. For example, C57BL/6NCrl mice developed the most pronounced adiposity, whereas C57BL/6 J mice showed the highest impairment in glucose tolerance. Moreover, our results indicated that the immunological phenotype depends on the intestinal microbiota, as the cell subset composition of the colon was similar in obese ex-GF B6NRjB6JHanZtm and obese B6JHanZtm mice. Phenotypic differences between C57BL/6 substrains are caused by a complex combination of genetic and microbial alterations. Therefore, in performing metabolic research, considering substrain-specific characteristics, which can influence the course of study, is important. Moreover, for unbiased comparison of data, the entire strain name should be shared with the scientific community.
  • Human microbial metabolite mimicry as a strategy to expand the chemical space of potential drugs.

    Li, Hao; Ranhotra, Harmit S; Mani, Sridhar; Dvořák, Zdeněk; Sokol, Harry; Müller, Rolf; HIRI, Helmholtz-Institut für RNA-basierte Infektionsforschung, Josef-Shneider Strasse 2, 97080 Würzburg, Germany. (Elsevier, 2020-06-17)
    he concept of small-molecule mimicry even of weak microbial metabolites present in rodents and humans, as a means to expand drug repertoires, is new. Hitherto, there are few proof-of-concept papers demonstrating utility of this concept. More recently, papers demonstrating mimicry of intestinal microbial metabolites could expand the drug repertoire for diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). We opine that, as more functional metabolite-receptor pairings are discovered, small-molecule metabolite mimicry could be a significant effort in drug discovery.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 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.
  • 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.
  • Synthetic and Biologic Studies on New Urea and Triazole Containing Cystobactamid Derivatives.

    Kirschning, Andreas; Planke, Therese; Cirnski, Katarina; Herrmann, Jennifer; Müller, Rolf; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (Wiley-Blackwell, 2019-12-13)
    he cystobactamids belong to the group of arene-based oligoamides that effectively inhibit bacterial type IIa topoisomerases. Cystobactamid 861-2 is the most active member of these antibiotics. Most amide bonds present in the cystobactamids link benzoic acids with anilines and it was found that some of these amide bonds undergo chemical and enzymatic hydrolysis, especially the one linking ring C with ring D. This work reports on the chemical synthesis and biological evaluation of thirteen new cystobactamids that still contain the methoxyaspartate hinge unit. However, we exchanged selected amide bonds either by the urea or the triazole groups and modified ring A in the latter case. While hydrolytic stability could be improved with these structural substitutes, the high antibacterial potency of cystobactamid 861-2 could only be preserved in selected cases. This includes derivatives, in which the urea group is positioned between rings A and B and where the triazole is found between rings C and D.

View more