• Concepts and Methods to Access Novel Antibiotics from Actinomycetes.

      Hug, Joachim J; Bader, Chantal D; Remškar, Maja; Cirnski, Katarina; Müller, Rolf (MPDI, 2018-05-22)
      Actinomycetes have been proven to be an excellent source of secondary metabolites for more than half a century. Exhibiting various bioactivities, they provide valuable approved drugs in clinical use. Most microorganisms are still untapped in terms of their capacity to produce secondary metabolites, since only a small fraction can be cultured in the laboratory. Thus, improving cultivation techniques to extend the range of secondary metabolite producers accessible under laboratory conditions is an important first step in prospecting underexplored sources for the isolation of novel antibiotics. Currently uncultured actinobacteria can be made available by bioprospecting extreme or simply habitats other than soil. Furthermore, bioinformatic analysis of genomes reveals most producers to harbour many more biosynthetic gene clusters than compounds identified from any single strain, which translates into a silent biosynthetic potential of the microbial world for the production of yet unknown natural products. This review covers discovery strategies and innovative methods recently employed to access the untapped reservoir of natural products. The focus is the order of actinomycetes although most approaches are similarly applicable to other microbes. Advanced cultivation methods, genomics- and metagenomics-based approaches, as well as modern metabolomics-inspired methods are highlighted to emphasise the interplay of different disciplines to improve access to novel natural products.
    • Heterologous expression of the atypical tetracycline chelocardin reveals the full set of genes required for its biosynthesis.

      Lukežič, Tadeja; Pikl, Špela; Zaburannyi, Nestor; Remškar, Maja; Petković, Hrvoje; Müller, Rolf; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (BMC (part of Springer), 2020-12-19)
      Background: Chelocardin (CHD) exhibits a broad-spectrum antibiotic activity and showed promising results in a small phase II clinical study conducted on patients with urinary tract infections. Importantly, CHD was shown to be active also against tetracycline-resistant Gram-negative pathogens, which is gaining even more importance in today’s antibiotic crisis. We have demonstrated that modifications of CHD through genetic engineering of its producer, the actinomycete Amycolatopsis sulphurea, are not only possible but yielded even more potent antibiotics than CHD itself, like 2-carboxamido-2-deacetyl-chelocardin (CD-CHD), which is currently in preclinical evaluation. A. sulphurea is difficult to genetically manipulate and therefore manipulation of the chd biosynthetic gene cluster in a genetically amenable heterologous host would be of high importance for further drug-discovery efforts. Results: We report heterologous expression of the CHD biosynthetic gene cluster in the model organism Streptomyces albus del14 strain. Unexpectedly, we found that the originally defined CHD gene cluster fails to provide all genes required for CHD formation, including an additional cyclase and two regulatory genes. Overexpression of the putative pathway-specific streptomyces antibiotic regulatory protein chdB in A. sulphurea resulted in an increase of both, CHD and CD-CHD production. Applying a metabolic-engineering approach, it was also possible to generate the potent CHD analogue, CD-CHD in S. albus. Finally, an additional yield increase was achieved in S. albus del14 by in-trans overexpression of the chdR exporter gene, which provides resistance to CHD and CDCHD. Conclusions: We identified previously unknown genes in the CHD cluster, which were shown to be essential for chelocardin biosynthesis by expression of the full biosynthetic gene cluster in S. albus as heterologous host. When comparing to oxytetracycline biosynthesis, we observed that the CHD gene cluster contains additional enzymes not found in gene clusters encoding the biosynthesis of typical tetracyclines (such as oxytetracycline). This finding probably explains the different chemistries and modes of action, which make CHD/CD-CHD valuable lead structures for clinical candidates. Even though the CHD genes are derived from a rare actinomycete A. sulphurea, the yield of CHD in the heterologous host was very good. The corrected nucleotide sequence of the CHD gene cluster now contains allgene products required for the production of CHD in a genetically amenable heterologous host, thus opening new possibilities towards production of novel and potent tetracycline analogues with a new mode of action.
    • Structures of lipoprotein signal peptidase II from Staphylococcus aureus complexed with antibiotics globomycin and myxovirescin.

      Olatunji, Samir; Yu, Xiaoxiao; Bailey, Jonathan; Huang, Chia-Ying; Zapotoczna, Marta; Bowen, Katherine; Remškar, Maja; Müller, Rolf; Scanlan, Eoin M; Geoghegan, Joan A; et al. (Nature publishing group, 2020-01-09)
      Antimicrobial resistance is a major global threat that calls for new antibiotics. Globomycin and myxovirescin are two natural antibiotics that target the lipoprotein-processing enzyme, LspA, thereby compromising the integrity of the bacterial cell envelope. As part of a project aimed at understanding their mechanism of action and for drug development, we provide high-resolution crystal structures of the enzyme from the human pathogen methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) complexed with globomycin and with myxovirescin. Our results reveal an instance of convergent evolution. The two antibiotics possess different molecular structures. Yet, they appear to inhibit identically as non-cleavable tetrahedral intermediate analogs. Remarkably, the two antibiotics superpose along nineteen contiguous atoms that interact similarly with LspA. This 19-atom motif recapitulates a part of the substrate lipoprotein in its proposed binding mode. Incorporating this motif into a scaffold with suitable pharmacokinetic properties should enable the development of effective antibiotics with built-in resistance hardiness.