Recent Submissions

  • Structure-Guided Optimization of Small-Molecule Folate Uptake Inhibitors Targeting the Energy-Coupling Factor Transporters

    Kiefer, Alexander F.; Bousis, Spyridon; Hamed, Mostafa M.; Diamanti, Eleonora; Haupenthal, Jörg; Hirsch, Anna K.H.; a Helmholtz-Institute for Pharmaceutical Research Saarland (HIPS), Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research (HZI), Campus E8.1, Saarbrücken, 66123, Germany b Department of Pharmacy, Saarland University, Campus E8.1, Saarbrücken, 66123, Germany c Helmholtz International Lab for Anti-Infectives, Campus E8.1, Saarbrücken, 66123, Germany (ACS/ American Chemical Society, 2022-07-14)
    Here, we report on a potent class of substituted ureidothiophenes targeting energy-coupling factor (ECF) transporters, an unexplored target that is not addressed by any antibiotic in the market. Since the ECF module is crucial for the vitamin transport mechanism, the prevention of substrate uptake should ultimately lead to cell death. By utilizing a combination of virtual and functional whole-cell screening of our in-house library, the membrane-bound protein mediated uptake of folate could be effectively inhibited. Structure-based optimization of our hit yielded low-micromolar inhibitors, whereby the most active compounds showed in addition potent antimicrobial activities against a panel of clinically relevant Gram-positive pathogens without significant cytotoxic effects. © 2022 American Chemical Society.
  • 7-Hydroxycoumarins Are Affinity-Based Fluorescent Probes for Competitive Binding Studies of Macrophage Migration Inhibitory Factor.

    Xiao, Zhangping; Chen, Deng; Song, Shanshan; van der Vlag, Ramon; van der Wouden, Petra E; van Merkerk, Ronald; Cool, Robbert H; Hirsch, Anna K H; Melgert, Barbro N; Quax, Wim J; et al. (American Chemical Society, 2020-10-13)
    Macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF) is a cytokine with key roles in inflammation and cancer, which qualifies it as a potential drug target. Apart from its cytokine activity, MIF also harbors enzyme activity for keto-enol tautomerization. MIF enzymatic activity has been used for identification of MIF binding molecules that also interfere with its biological activity. However, MIF tautomerase activity assays are troubled by irregularities, thus creating a need for alternative methods. In this study, we identified a 7-hydroxycoumarin fluorophore with high affinity for the MIF tautomerase active site (Ki = 18 ± 1 nM) that binds with concomitant quenching of its fluorescence. This property enabled development of a novel competition-based assay format to quantify MIF binding. We also demonstrated that the 7-hydroxycoumarin fluorophore interfered with the MIF-CD74 interaction and inhibited proliferation of A549 cells. Thus, we provide a high-affinity MIF binder as a novel tool to advance MIF-oriented research.
  • Novel 2,4-disubstituted quinazoline analogs as antibacterial agents with improved cytotoxicity profile: Modification of the benzenoid part.

    Megahed, Sarah H; Rasheed, Sari; Herrmann, Jennifer; El-Hossary, Ebaa M; El-Shabrawy, Yahia I; Abadi, Ashraf H; Engel, Matthias; Müller, Rolf; Abdel-Halim, Mohammad; Hamed, Mostafa M; et al. (Elsevier Ltd., 2022-01-07)
    Bacterial resistance to currently used antibiotics demands the development of novel antibacterial agents with good safety margins and sufficient efficacy against multi-drug resistant isolates. We have previously described the synthesis of N-butyl-2-(butylthio)quinazolin-4-amine (I) as an optimized hit with broad-spectrum antibacterial activity and low cytotoxicity. In addition, we have identified a potential growing vector for this series of compounds. Herein, we describe further hit optimization which includes systematic diversifications of both the benzenoid part and the substituents at position 6 and 7 of compound I. Growing of the molecule beside the core modifications yielded several compounds with remarkable anti(myco)bacterial activity against a panel of pathogenic bacteria, including drug-resistant strains. Compound 12 showed a 2-4 fold improvement in activity than I against S. aureus Newman, S. pneumoniae DSM-20566 and E. faecalis DSM-20478. The compounds also showed a good safety profile towards human HepG2 cells.
  • Bacteriomimetic Liposomes Improve Antibiotic Activity of a Novel Energy-Coupling Factor Transporter Inhibitor.

    Drost, Menka; Diamanti, Eleonora; Fuhrmann, Kathrin; Goes, Adriely; Shams, Atanaz; Haupenthal, Jörg; Koch, Marcus; Hirsch, Anna K H; Fuhrmann, Gregor; HIRI, Helmholtz-Institut für RNA-basierte Infektionsforschung, Josef-Shneider Strasse 2, 97080 Würzburg, Germany. (MDPI, 2021-12-21)
    Liposomes have been studied for decades as nanoparticulate drug delivery systems for cytostatics, and more recently, for antibiotics. Such nanoantibiotics show improved antibacterial efficacy compared to the free drug and can be effective despite bacterial recalcitrance. In this work, we present a loading method of bacteriomimetic liposomes for a novel, hydrophobic compound (HIPS5031) inhibiting energy-coupling factor transporters (ECF transporters), an underexplored antimicrobial target. The liposomes were composed of DOPG (18:1 (Δ9-cis) phosphatidylglycerol) and CL (cardiolipin), resembling the cell membrane of Gram-positive Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus pneumoniae, and enriched with cholesterol (Chol). The size and polydispersity of the DOPG/CL/± Chol liposomes remained stable over 8 weeks when stored at 4 °C. Loading of the ECF transporter inhibitor was achieved by thin film hydration and led to a high encapsulation efficiency of 33.19% ± 9.5% into the DOPG/CL/Chol liposomes compared to the phosphatidylcholine liposomes (DMPC/DPPC). Bacterial growth inhibition assays on the model organism Bacillus subtilis revealed liposomal HIPS5031 as superior to the free drug, showing a 3.5-fold reduction in CFU/mL at a concentration of 9.64 µM. Liposomal HIPS5031 was also shown to reduce B. subtilis biofilm. Our findings present an explorative basis for bacteriomimetic liposomes as a strategy against drug-resistant pathogens by surpassing the drug-formulation barriers of innovative, yet unfavorably hydrophobic, antibiotics.
  • 17β-Hydroxysteroid Dehydrogenase Type 1 Inhibition: A Potential Treatment Option for Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer.

    Gargano, Emanuele M; Mohamed, Abdelrahman; Abdelsamie, Ahmed S; Mangiatordi, Giuseppe F; Drzewiecka, Hanna; Jagodziński, Paweł P; Mazzini, Arcangela; van Koppen, Chris J; Laschke, Matthias W; Nicolotti, Orazio; et al. (ACS, 2021-11-18)
    In the face of the clinical challenge posed by non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), the present need for new therapeutic approaches is genuine. Up to now, no proof existed that 17β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 1 (17β-HSD1) is a viable target for treating this disease. Synthesis of a rationally designed library of 2,5-disubstituted furan derivatives followed by biological screening led to the discovery of 17β-HSD1 inhibitor 1, capable of fully inhibiting human NSCLC Calu-1 cell proliferation. Its pharmacological profile renders it eligible for further in vivo studies. The very high selectivity of 1 over 17β-HSD2 was investigated, revealing a rational approach for the design of selective inhibitors. 17β-HSD1 and 1 hold promise in fighting NSCLC.
  • Towards the sustainable discovery and development of new antibiotics.

    Miethke, Marcus; Pieroni, Marco; Weber, Tilmann; Brönstrup, Mark; Hammann, Peter; Halby, Ludovic; Arimondo, Paola B; Glaser, Philippe; Aigle, Bertrand; Bode, Helge B; et al. (Springer Nature, 2021-08-19)
    An ever-increasing demand for novel antimicrobials to treat life-threatening infections caused by the global spread of multidrug-resistant bacterial pathogens stands in stark contrast to the current level of investment in their development, particularly in the fields of natural-product-derived and synthetic small molecules. New agents displaying innovative chemistry and modes of action are desperately needed worldwide to tackle the public health menace posed by antimicrobial resistance. Here, our consortium presents a strategic blueprint to substantially improve our ability to discover and develop new antibiotics. We propose both short-term and long-term solutions to overcome the most urgent limitations in the various sectors of research and funding, aiming to bridge the gap between academic, industrial and political stakeholders, and to unite interdisciplinary expertise in order to efficiently fuel the translational pipeline for the benefit of future generations.
  • Expanding the Myxochelin Natural Product Family by Nicotinic Acid Containing Congeners.

    Frank, Nicolas A; Széles, Márió; Akone, Sergi H; Rasheed, Sari; Hüttel, Stephan; Frewert, Simon; Hamed, Mostafa M; Herrmann, Jennifer; Schuler, Sören M M; Hirsch, Anna K H; et al. (MDPI, 2021-08-14)
    Myxobacteria represent a viable source of chemically diverse and biologically active secondary metabolites. The myxochelins are a well-studied family of catecholate-type siderophores produced by various myxobacterial strains. Here, we report the discovery, isolation, and structure elucidation of three new myxochelins N1-N3 from the terrestrial myxobacterium Corallococcus sp. MCy9049, featuring an unusual nicotinic acid moiety. Precursor-directed biosynthesis (PDB) experiments and total synthesis were performed in order to confirm structures, improve access to pure compounds for bioactivity testing, and to devise a biosynthesis proposal. The combined evaluation of metabolome and genome data covering myxobacteria supports the notion that the new myxochelin congeners reported here are in fact frequent side products of the known myxochelin A biosynthetic pathway in myxobacteria.
  • Hit-optimization using target-directed dynamic combinatorial chemistry: development of inhibitors of the anti-infective target 1-deoxy-d-xylulose-5-phosphate synthase.

    Jumde, Ravindra P; Guardigni, Melissa; Gierse, Robin M; Alhayek, Alaa; Zhu, Di; Hamid, Zhoor; Johannsen, Sandra; Elgaher, Walid A M; Neusens, Philipp J; Nehls, Christian; et al. (Royal Society of Chemistry, 2021-04-28)
    Target-directed dynamic combinatorial chemistry (tdDCC) enables identification, as well as optimization of ligands for un(der)explored targets such as the anti-infective target 1-deoxy-d-xylulose-5-phosphate synthase (DXPS). We report the use of tdDCC to first identify and subsequently optimize binders/inhibitors of the anti-infective target DXPS. The initial hits were also optimized for their antibacterial activity against E. coli and M. tuberculosis during subsequent tdDCC runs. Using tdDCC, we were able to generate acylhydrazone-based inhibitors of DXPS. The tailored tdDCC runs also provided insights into the structure-activity relationship of this novel class of DXPS inhibitors. The competition tdDCC runs provided important information about the mode of inhibition of acylhydrazone-based inhibitors. This approach holds the potential to expedite the drug-discovery process and should be applicable to a range of biological targets.
  • Mastering the Gram-negative bacterial barrier - Chemical approaches to increase bacterial bioavailability of antibiotics.

    Ropponen, Henni-Karoliina; Richter, Robert; Hirsch, Anna K H; Lehr, Claus Michael; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (Elsevier, 2021-03-08)
    To win the battle against resistant, pathogenic bacteria, novel classes of anti-infectives and targets are urgently needed. Bacterial uptake, distribution, metabolic and efflux pathways of antibiotics in Gram-negative bacteria determine what we here refer to as bacterial bioavailability. Understanding these mechanisms from a chemical perspective is essential for anti-infective activity and hence, drug discovery as well as drug delivery. A systematic and critical discussion of in bacterio, in vitro and in silico assays reveals that a sufficiently accurate holistic approach is still missing. We expect new findings based on Gram-negative bacterial bioavailability to guide future anti-infective research.
  • The exo-β-N-acetylmuramidase NamZ from Bacillus subtilis is the founding member of a family of exo-lytic peptidoglycan hexosaminidases.

    Müller, Maraike; Calvert, Matthew; Hottmann, Isabel; Kluj, Robert Maria; Teufel, Tim; Balbuchta, Katja; Engelbrecht, Alicia; Selim, Khaled A; Xu, Qingping; Borisova, Marina; et al. (Elsevier, 2021-03-05)
    Endo-β-N-acetylmuramidases, commonly known as lysozymes, are well-characterized antimicrobial enzymes that catalyze an endo-lytic cleavage of peptidoglycan; i.e., they hydrolyze the β-1,4-glycosidic bonds connecting N-acetylmuramic acid (MurNAc) and N-acetylglucosamine (GlcNAc). In contrast, little is known about exo-β-N-acetylmuramidases, which catalyze an exo-lytic cleavage of β-1,4-MurNAc entities from the non-reducing ends of peptidoglycan chains. Such an enzyme was identified earlier in the bacterium Bacillus subtilis, but the corresponding gene has remained unknown so far. We now report that ybbC of B. subtilis, renamed namZ, encodes the reported exo-β-N-acetylmuramidase. A ΔnamZ mutant accumulated specific cell wall fragments and showed growth defects under starvation conditions, indicating a role of NamZ in cell wall turnover and recycling. Recombinant NamZ protein specifically hydrolyzed the artificial substrate para-nitrophenyl β-MurNAc and the peptidoglycan-derived disaccharide MurNAc-β-1,4-GlcNAc. Together with the exo-β-N-acetylglucosaminidase NagZ and the exo-muramoyl-l-alanine amidase AmiE, NamZ degraded intact peptidoglycan by sequential hydrolysis from the non-reducing ends. A structure model of NamZ, built on the basis of two crystal structures of putative orthologs from Bacteroides fragilis, revealed a two-domain structure including a Rossmann-fold-like domain that constitutes a unique glycosidase fold. Thus, NamZ, a member of the DUF1343 protein family of unknown function, is now classified as the founding member of a new family of glycosidases (CAZy GH171; NamZ-like peptidoglycan hexosaminidases are mainly present in the phylum Bacteroidetes and less frequently found in individual genomes within Firmicutes (Bacilli, Clostridia), Actinobacteria, and γ-proteobacteria.
  • Assessment of the rules related to gaining activity against Gram-negative bacteria.

    Ropponen, Henni-Karoliina; Diamanti, Eleonora; Siemens, Alexandra; Illarionov, Boris; Haupenthal, Jörg; Fischer, Markus; Rottmann, Matthias; Witschel, Matthias; Hirsch, Anna K H; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (Royal Society of Chemistry, 2021-03-03)
    In the search for new antibacterial compounds, we repositioned an antimalarial compound class by derivatising it based on the so-called "eNTRy" rules for enhanced accumulation into Gram-negative bacteria. We designed, synthesised and evaluated a small library of amino acid modified compounds together with the respective Boc-protected analogues, leading to no substantial improvement in antibacterial activity against Escherichia coli wild-type K12, whereas more distinct activity differences were observed in E. coli mutant strains ΔtolC, D22, ΔacrB and BL21(DE3)omp8. A comparison of the activity results of the E. coli mutants with respect to the known rules related to enhanced activity against Gram-negative bacteria revealed that applicability of the rules is not always ensured. Out of the four amino acids used in this study, glycine derivatives showed highest antibacterial activity, although still suffering from efflux issues.
  • KSHV-specific antivirals targeting the protein-DNA interaction of the latency-associated nuclear antigen.

    Berwanger, Aylin; Empting, Martin; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (Future Science Group, 2021-05-26)
    The Kaposi sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) is an oncogenic human herpesviruses that is responsible for cancer, especially in immunosuppressed people, such as patients with AIDS. So far, there are no KSHV-specifc antiviral agents available. In this review, we provide an overview on one particular target-centered approach toward novel anti-KSHV drugs focusing on interfering with the molecular functions of the latency-associated nuclear antigen (LANA). This review focuses on attempts to interfere with the LANA-DNA interaction mediated by the C-terminal domain. We describe the drug discovery approaches chosen for this endeavor as well as molecular structures that were identified in this innovative concept toward novel and KSHV-specific antiherpesviral agents.
  • Expression, Purification, and Functional Characterization of Tectonin 2 from Laccaria bicolor: A Six-Bladed Beta-Propeller Lectin Specific for O-Methylated Glycans.

    Wohlschlager, Therese; Titz, Alexander; Künzler, Markus; Varrot, Annabelle; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (Springer, 2020-04-19)
    Tectonins are conserved defense proteins of innate immune systems featuring a β-propeller fold. Tectonin 2 from Laccaria bicolor, Lb-Tec2, is the first fungal representative of the tectonin superfamily that has been described. In-depth characterization revealed a specificity for O-methylated glycans and identified a unique sequence motif and binding site architecture underlying this unusual specificity. This chapter provides information on how to produce and purify recombinant Lb-Tec2, characterize its interaction with O-methylated glycans and demonstrate its biological function.
  • Structure-Activity Relationship and Mode-of-Action Studies Highlight 1-(4-Biphenylylmethyl)-1H-imidazole-Derived Small Molecules as Potent CYP121 Inhibitors.

    Walter, Isabell; Adam, Sebastian; Gentilini, Maria Virginia; Kany, Andreas M; Brengel, Christian; Thomann, Andreas; Sparwasser, Tim; Köhnke, Jesko; Hartmann, Rolf W; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany.; TWINCORE, Zentrum für experimentelle und klinische Infektionsforschung GmbH,Feodor-Lynen Str. 7, 30625 Hannover, Germany. (Wiley-VCH, 2021-05-19)
    CYP121 of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) is an essential target for the development of novel potent drugs against tuberculosis (TB). Besides known antifungal azoles, further compounds of the azole class were recently identified as CYP121 inhibitors with antimycobacterial activity. Herein, we report the screening of a similarity-oriented library based on the former hit compound, the evaluation of affinity toward CYP121, and activity against M. bovis BCG. The results enabled a comprehensive SAR study, which was extended through the synthesis of promising compounds and led to the identification of favorable features for affinity and/or activity and hit compounds with 2.7-fold improved potency. Mode of action studies show that the hit compounds inhibit substrate conversion and highlighted CYP121 as the main antimycobacterial target of our compounds. Exemplified complex crystal structures of CYP121 with three inhibitors reveal a common binding site. Engaging in both hydrophobic interactions as well as hydrogen bonding to the sixth iron ligand, our compounds block a solvent channel leading to the active site heme. Additionally, we report the first CYP inhibitors that are able to reduce the intracellular replication of M. bovis BCG in macrophages, emphasizing their potential as future drug candidates against TB.
  • Search for the Active Ingredients from a 2-Aminothiazole DMSO Stock Solution with Antimalarial Activity.

    Ropponen, Henni-Karoliina; Bader, Chantal D; Diamanti, Eleonora; Illarionov, Boris; Rottmann, Matthias; Fischer, Markus; Witschel, Matthias; Müller, Rolf; Hirsch, Anna K H; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (Wiley-VCH, 2021-04-12)
    Chemical decomposition of DMSO stock solutions is a common incident that can mislead biological screening campaigns. Here, we share our case study of 2-aminothiazole 1, originating from an antimalarial class that undergoes chemical decomposition in DMSO at room temperature. As previously measured biological activities observed against Plasmodium falciparum NF54 and for the target enzyme PfIspE were not reproducible for a fresh batch, we tackled the challenge to understand where the activity originated from. Solvent- and temperature-dependent studies using HRMS and NMR spectroscopy to monitor the decomposition led to the isolation and in vitro evaluation of several fractions against PfIspE. After four days of decomposition, we successfully isolated the oxygenated and dimerised compounds using SFC purification and correlated the observed activities to them. Due to the unstable nature of the two isolates, it is likely that they undergo further decomposition contributing to the overall instability of the compound.
  • Non-Carbohydrate Glycomimetics as Inhibitors of Calcium(II)-Binding Lectins.

    Kuhaudomlarp, Sakonwan; Siebs, Eike; Shanina, Elena; Topin, Jérémie; Joachim, Ines; da Silva Figueiredo Celestino Gomes, Priscila; Varrot, Annabelle; Rognan, Didier; Rademacher, Christoph; Imberty, Anne; et al. (Wiley-VCH, 2021-03-03)
    Because of the antimicrobial resistance crisis, lectins are considered novel drug targets. Pseudomonas aeruginosa utilizes LecA and LecB in the infection process. Inhibition of both lectins with carbohydrate-derived molecules can reduce biofilm formation to restore antimicrobial susceptibility. Here, we focused on non-carbohydrate inhibitors for LecA to explore new avenues for lectin inhibition. From a screening cascade we obtained one experimentally confirmed hit, a catechol, belonging to the well-known PAINS compounds. Rigorous analyses validated electron-deficient catechols as millimolar LecA inhibitors. The first co-crystal structure of a non-carbohydrate inhibitor in complex with a bacterial lectin clearly demonstrates the catechol mimicking the binding of natural glycosides with LecA. Importantly, catechol 3 is the first non-carbohydrate lectin ligand that binds bacterial and mammalian calcium(II)-binding lectins, giving rise to this fundamentally new class of glycomimetics.
  • François Diederich - In Memoriam*.

    Hof, Fraser; Hirsch, Anna K H; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (Wiley-VCH, 2020-12-14)
    François Diederich - In Memoriam. In this Guest Editorial, Fraser Hof and Anna K. H. Hirsch help us remember the life and scientific legacy of Prof. François Diederich, a beloved mentor and inspiration to many, as well as an extraordinary scientist who made significant impacts in remarkably diverse areas.
  • A New PqsR Inverse Agonist Potentiates Tobramycin Efficacy to Eradicate Pseudomonas aeruginosa Biofilms

    Schütz, Christian; Ho, Duy‐Khiet; Hamed, Mostafa Mohamed; Abdelsamie, Ahmed Saad; Röhrig, Teresa; Herr, Christian; Kany, Andreas Martin; Rox, Katharina; Schmelz, Stefan; Siebenbürger, Lorenz; et al. (Wiley and Sons Inc., 2021-03-18)
    Pseudomonas aeruginosa (PA) infections can be notoriously difficult to treat and are often accompanied by the development of antimicrobial resistance (AMR). Quorum sensing inhibitors (QSI) acting on PqsR (MvfR) – a crucial transcriptional regulator serving major functions in PA virulence – can enhance antibiotic efficacy and eventually prevent the AMR. An integrated drug discovery campaign including design, medicinal chemistry‐driven hit‐to‐lead optimization and in‐depth biological profiling of a new QSI generation is reported. The QSI possess excellent activity in inhibiting pyocyanin production and PqsR reporter‐gene with IC50 values as low as 200 and 11 × 10−9 m, respectively. Drug metabolism and pharmacokinetics (DMPK) as well as safety pharmacology studies especially highlight the promising translational properties of the lead QSI for pulmonary applications. Moreover, target engagement of the lead QSI is shown in a PA mucoid lung infection mouse model. Beyond that, a significant synergistic effect of a QSI‐tobramycin (Tob) combination against PA biofilms using a tailor‐made squalene‐derived nanoparticle (NP) formulation, which enhance the minimum biofilm eradicating concentration (MBEC) of Tob more than 32‐fold is demonstrated. The novel lead QSI and the accompanying NP formulation highlight the potential of adjunctive pathoblocker‐mediated therapy against PA infections opening up avenues for preclinical development.
  • Enhancing glycan stabilityviasite-selective fluorination: modulating substrate orientation by molecular design

    Axer, Alexander; Jumde, Ravindra P.; Adam, Sebastian; Faust, Andreas; Schäfers, Michael; Fobker, Manfred; Koehnke, Jesko; Hirsch, Anna K.H.; Gilmour, Ryan; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (Royal Chemistry Society (RCS), 2021-01-28)
    ingle site OH → F substitution at the termini of maltotetraose leads to significantly improved hydrolytic stability towards α-amylase and α-glucosidase relative to the natural compound. To explore the effect of molecular editing, selectively modified oligosaccharides were preparedviaa convergent α-selective strategy. Incubation experiments in purified α-amylase and α-glucosidase, and in human and murine blood serum, provide insight into the influence of fluorine on the hydrolytic stability of these clinically important scaffolds. Enhancements ofca. 1 order of magnitude result from these subtle single point mutations. Modification at the monosaccharide furthest from the probable enzymatic cleavage termini leads to the greatest improvement in stability. In the case of α-amylase, docking studies revealed that retentive C2-fluorination at the reducing end inverts the orientation in which the substrate is bound. A co-crystal structure of human α-amylase revealed maltose units bound at the active-site. In view of the evolving popularity of C(sp3)-F bioisosteres in medicinal chemistry, and the importance of maltodextrins in bacterial imaging, this discovery begins to reconcile the information-rich nature of carbohydrates with their intrinsic hydrolytic vulnerabilities. © The Royal Society of Chemistry 2020.
  • Phosphonate as Stable Zinc-binding Group for Inhibitors of Clostridial Collagenase H (ColH) as Pathoblocker Agents.

    Voos, Katrin; Schönauer, Esther; Alhayek, Alaa; Haupenthal, Jörg; Andreas, Anastasia; Müller, Rolf; Hartmann, Rolf W; Brandstetter, Hans; Hirsch, Anna K H; Ducho, Christian; et al. (Wiley-VCH, 2021-01-27)
    Microbial infections are a significant threat to public health and resistances are on the rise, so new antibiotics with novel modes of action are urgently needed. The extracellular zinc metalloprotease collagenase H (ColH) from Clostridium histolyticum is a virulence factor that catalyzes tissue damage, leading to improved host invasion and colonisation. Besides the major role of ColH in pathogenicity, its extracellular localisation makes it a highly attractive target for the development of new antivirulence agents. Previously, we had found that a highly selective and potent thiol prodrug (with a hydrolytically cleavable thiocarbamate unit) provided efficient ColH inhibition. We now report the synthesis and biological evaluation of a range of zinc-binding group (ZBG) variants of this thiol-derived inhibitor, with the mercapto unit being replaced by other zinc ligands. Among these, an analogue with a phosphonate motif as ZBG showed promising activity against ColH, an improved selectivity profile, and significantly higher stability than the thiol reference compound, thus making it an attractive candidate for future drug development.

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