• Aspherical and Spherical InvA497-Functionalized Nanocarriers for Intracellular Delivery of Anti-Infective Agents.

      Castoldi, Arianna; Empting, Martin; De Rossi, Chiara; Mayr, Karsten; Dersch, Petra; Hartmann, Rolf; Müller, Rolf; Gordon, Sarah; Lehr, Claus-Michael; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (Springer, 2018-12-05)
      The objective of this work was to evaluate the potential of polymeric spherical and aspherical invasive nanocarriers, loaded with antibiotic, to access and treat intracellular bacterial infections. Aspherical nanocarriers were prepared by stretching of spherical precursors, and both aspherical and spherical nanocarriers were surface-functionalized with the invasive protein InvA497. The relative uptake of nanocarriers into HEp-2 epithelial cells was then assessed. Nanocarriers were subsequently loaded with a preparation of the non-permeable antibiotic gentamicin, and tested for their ability to treat HEp-2 cells infected with the enteroinvasive bacterium Shigella flexneri. InvA497-functionalized nanocarriers of both spherical and aspherical shape showed a significantly improved rate and extent of uptake into HEp-2 cells in comparison to non-functionalized nanocarriers. Functionalized and antibiotic-loaded nanocarriers demonstrated a dose dependent killing of intracellular S. flexneri. A slight but significant enhancement of intracellular bacterial killing was also observed with aspherical as compared to spherical functionalized nanocarriers at the highest tested concentration. InvA497-functionalized, polymer-based nanocarriers were able to efficiently deliver a non-permeable antibiotic across host cell membranes to affect killing of intracellular bacteria. Functionalized nanocarriers with an aspherical shape showed an interesting future potential for intracellular infection therapy.
    • Biophysical Screening of a Focused Library for the Discovery of CYP121 Inhibitors as Novel Antimycobacterials.

      Brengel, Christian; Thomann, Andreas; Schifrin, Alexander; Allegretta, Giuseppe; Kamal, Ahmed A M; Haupenthal, Jörg; Schnorr, Isabell; Cho, Sang Hyun; Franzblau, Scott G; Empting, Martin; et al. (2017-10-09)
      The development of novel antimycobacterial agents against Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) is urgently required due to the appearance of multidrug resistance (MDR) combined with complicated long-term treatment. CYP121 was shown to be a promising novel target for inhibition of mycobacterial growth. In this study, we describe the rational discovery of new CYP121 inhibitors by a systematic screening based on biophysical and microbiological methods. The best hits originating from only one structural class gave initial information about molecular motifs required for binding and activity. The initial screening procedure was followed by mode-of-action studies and further biological characterizations. The results demonstrate superior antimycobacterial efficacy and a decreased toxicity profile of our frontrunner compound relative to the reference compound econazole. Due to its low molecular weight, promising biological profile, and physicochemical properties, this compound is an excellent starting point for further rational optimization.
    • Catechol-based substrates of chalcone synthase as a scaffold for novel inhibitors of PqsD.

      Allegretta, Giuseppe; Weidel, Elisabeth; Empting, Martin; Hartmann, Rolf W; Helmholtz Institute for Pharmaceutical Research Saarland (HIPS), PO Box 15 11 50, D-66041 Saarbrücken, Germany. (2015-01-27)
      A new strategy for treating Pseudomonas aeruginosa infections could be disrupting the Pseudomonas Quinolone Signal (PQS) quorum sensing (QS) system. The goal is to impair communication among the cells and, hence, reduce the expression of virulence factors and the formation of biofilms. PqsD is an essential enzyme for the synthesis of PQS and shares some features with chalcone synthase (CHS2), an enzyme expressed in Medicago sativa. Both proteins are quite similar concerning the size of the active site, the catalytic residues and the electrostatic surface potential at the entrance of the substrate tunnel. Hence, we evaluated selected substrates of the vegetable enzyme as potential inhibitors of the bacterial protein. This similarity-guided approach led to the identification of a new class of PqsD inhibitors having a catechol structure as an essential feature for activity, a saturated linker with two or more carbons and an ester moiety bearing bulky substituents. The developed compounds showed PqsD inhibition with IC50 values in the single-digit micromolar range. The binding mode of these compounds was investigated by Surface Plasmon Resonance (SPR) experiments revealing that their interaction with the protein is not influenced by the presence of the anthranilic acid bound to active site cysteine. Importantly, some compounds reduced the signal molecule production in cellulo.
    • Composing compound libraries for hit discovery--rationality-driven preselection or random choice by structural diversity?

      Weidel, Elisabeth; Negri, Matthias; Empting, Martin; Hinsberger, Stefan; Hartmann, Rolf W (2014)
      In order to identify new scaffolds for drug discovery, surface plasmon resonance is frequently used to screen structurally diverse libraries. Usually, hit rates are low and identification processes are time consuming. Hence, approaches which improve hit rates and, thus, reduce the library size are required.
    • Design and synthesis of a library of lead-like 2,4-bisheterocyclic substituted thiophenes as selective Dyrk/Clk inhibitors.

      Schmitt, Christian; Kail, Dagmar; Mariano, Marica; Empting, Martin; Weber, Nadja; Paul, Tamara; Hartmann, Rolf W.; Engel, Matthias; Helmholtz Institute für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1, 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (2014)
      The Dyrk family of protein kinases is implicated in the pathogenesis of several diseases, including cancer and neurodegeneration. Pharmacological inhibitors were mainly described for Dyrk1A so far, but in fewer cases for Dyrk1B, Dyrk2 or other isoforms. Herein, we report the development and optimization of 2,4-bisheterocyclic substituted thiophenes as a novel class of Dyrk inhibitors. The optimized hit compounds displayed favorable pharmacokinetic properties and high ligand efficiencies, and inhibited Dyrk1B in intact cells. In a larger selectivity screen, only Clk1 and Clk4 were identified as additional targets of compound 48, but no other kinases frequently reported as off-targets. Interestingly, Dyrk1A is implicated in the regulation of alternative splicing, a function shared with Clk1/Clk4; thus, some of the dual inhibitors might be useful as efficient splicing modulators. A further compound (29) inhibited Dyrk1A and 1B with an IC50 of 130 nM, showing a moderate selectivity over Dyrk2. Since penetration of the central nervous system (CNS) seems possible based on the physicochemical properties, this compound might serve as a lead for the development of potential therapeutic agents against glioblastoma. Furthermore, an inhibitor selective for Dyrk2 (24) was also identified, which might be are suitable as a pharmacological tool to dissect Dyrk2 isoform-mediated functions.
    • 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.
    • Discovery of the first small-molecule CsrA-RNA interaction inhibitors using biophysical screening technologies.

      Maurer, Christine K; Fruth, Martina; Empting, Martin; Avrutina, Olga; Hoßmann, Jörn; Nadmid, Suvd; Gorges, Jan; Herrmann, Jennifer; Kazmaier, Uli; Dersch, Petra; et al. (2016-06)
      CsrA is a global post-transcriptional regulator protein affecting mRNA translation and/or stability. Widespread among bacteria, it is essential for their full virulence and thus represents a promising anti-infective drug target. Therefore, we aimed at the discovery of CsrA-RNA interaction inhibitors. Results & methodology: We followed two strategies: a screening of small molecules (A) and an RNA ligand-based approach (B). Using surface plasmon resonance-based binding and fluorescence polarization-based competition assays, (A) yielded seven small-molecule inhibitors, among them MM14 (IC50 of 4 µM). (B) resulted in RNA-based inhibitor GGARNA (IC50 of 113 µM).
    • Exploring the chemical space of ureidothiophene-2-carboxylic acids as inhibitors of the quorum sensing enzyme PqsD from Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

      Sahner, J Henning; Empting, Martin; Kamal, Ahmed; Weidel, Elisabeth; Groh, Matthias; Börger, Carsten; Hartmann, Rolf W; Pharmaceutical and Medicinal Chemistry, Saarland University & Helmholtz Institute for Pharmaceutical Research Saarland (HIPS), Department of Drug Design and Optimization, Campus C2 3, 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (2015-05-26)
      Pseudomonas aeruginosa employs a quorum sensing (QS) communication system that makes use of small diffusible molecules. Among other effects, the QS system coordinates the formation of biofilm which decisively contributes to difficulties in the therapy of Pseudomonas infections. The present work deals with the structure-activity exploration of ureidothiophene-2-carboxylic acids as inhibitors of PqsD, a key enzyme in the biosynthetic pathway of signal molecules in the Pseudomonas QS system. We describe an improvement of the inhibitory activity by successfully combining features from two different PqsD inhibitor classes. Furthermore the functional groups, which are responsible for the inhibitory potency, were identified. Moreover, the inability of the new inhibitors, to prevent signal molecule formation in whole cell assays, is discussed.
    • Flexible Fragment Growing Boosts Potency of Quorum Sensing Inhibitors against Pseudomonas aeruginosa Virulence.

      Zender, Michael; Witzgall, Florian; Kiefer, Alexander Felix; Kirsch, Benjamin; Maurer, Christine K; Kany, Andreas M; Xu, Ningna; Schmelz, Stefan; Börger, Carsten; Blankenfeldt, Wulf; et al. (Wiley-VCH, 2019-11-11)
      Hit-to-lead optimization is a critical phase in drug discovery. Herein, we report on the fragment-based discovery and optimization of 2-amino pyridine derivatives as a novel lead-like structure for the treatment of the dangerous opportunistic pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa . We pursue an innovative treatment strategy by interfering with the Pseudomonas Quinolone Signal (PQS) Quorum Sensing (QS) system leading to an abolishment of bacterial pathogenicity. Our compounds act on the PQS receptor (PqsR), a key transcription factor controlling the expression of various pathogenicity determinants. In this target-driven approach, we made use of biophysical screening via surface plasmon resonance (SPR) followed by isothermal titration calorimetry (ITC)-enabled enthalpic efficiency (EE) evaluation. Hit optimization then involved growth vector identification and exploitation. Astonishingly, the latter was successfully achieved by introducing flexible linkers rather than rigid motifs leading to a boost in activity on the target receptor and anti-virulence potency.
    • Fragment-Based Discovery of a Qualified Hit Targeting the Latency-Associated Nuclear Antigen of the Oncogenic Kaposi's Sarcoma-Associated Herpesvirus/Human Herpesvirus 8.

      Kirsch, Philine; Jakob, Valentin; Oberhausen, Kevin; Stein, Saskia C; Cucarro, Ivano; Schulz, Thomas F; Empting, Martin; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (American Chemical Society, 2019-04-25)
      The latency-associated nuclear antigen (LANA) is required for latent replication and persistence of Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus/human herpesvirus 8. It acts via replicating and tethering the virus episome to the host chromatin and exerts other functions. We conceived a new approach for the discovery of antiviral drugs to inhibit the interaction between LANA and the viral genome. We applied a biophysical screening cascade and identified the first LANA binders from small, structurally diverse compound libraries. Starting from a fragment-sized scaffold, we generated optimized hits via fragment growing using a dedicated fluorescence-polarization-based assay as the structure-activity-relationship driver. We improved compound potency to the double-digit micromolar range. Importantly, we qualified the resulting hit through orthogonal methods employing EMSA, STD-NMR, and MST methodologies. This optimized hit provides an ideal starting point for subsequent hit-to-lead campaigns providing evident target-binding, suitable ligand efficiencies, and favorable physicochemical properties.
    • Hit evaluation of an α-helical peptide: Ala-scan, truncation and sidechain-to-sidechain macrocyclization of an RNA polymerase Inhibitor.

      Kamal, Ahmed Ashraf Moustafa; Habib, Monica; Haupenthal, Joerg; Hartmann, Rolf Wolfgang; Empting, Martin; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (De Gruyter, 2019-02-25)
      RNA polymerase (RNAP) remains a relatively underexplored target with only rifampicin and fidaxomicin in clinical use. Hence, the concurrent rise in bacterial resistance rate urges the search for novel RNAP inhibitors with novel mode of action. In this work, we investigated the impact of several systematic modifications including sidechain-to-sidechain macrocylization in α-helical content and biological activity of a previously identified inhibitory sigma factor fragment. Ala-scan results, peptide truncation from both the N- and C- terminus, and modifications inspired by other RNAP inhibitors revealed novel structure activity relationships but did not yield a superior sequence. Additionally, four insertion points for non-natural amino acids bearing side chains required for macrocylization were explored. Linear precursors showed improved stabilization of α-helical content compared to the original sequence as demonstrated by CD spectroscopy. However, this increase in α-helicity did not translate into improved biological activity. Instead, complete abolishment of RNAP inhibitory activity occurred. We hypothesize three possible reasons for such discrepancy and offer basis for further optimization efforts for this peptidic RNAP inhibitor.
    • In-depth Profiling of MvfR-Regulated Small Molecules in Pseudomonas aeruginosa after Quorum Sensing Inhibitor Treatment.

      Allegretta, Giuseppe; Maurer, Christine K; Eberhard, Jens; Maura, Damien; Hartmann, Rolf W; Rahme, Laurence; Empting, Martin; Helmholtz-Institute for Pharmaceutical Research Saarland (HIPS),Saarland 9 University, 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (2017)
      Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a Gram-negative bacterium, which causes opportunistic infections in immuno-compromised individuals. Due to its multiple resistances toward antibiotics, the development of new drugs is required. Interfering with Quorum Sensing (QS), a cell-to-cell communication system, has shown to be highly efficient in reducing P. aeruginosa pathogenicity. One of its QS systems employs Pseudomonas Quinolone Signal (PQS) and 4-hydroxy-2-heptylquinoline (HHQ) as signal molecules. Both activate the transcriptional regulator MvfR (Multiple Virulence Factor Regulator), also called PqsR, driving the production of QS molecules as well as toxins and biofilm formation. The aim of this work was to elucidate the effects of QS inhibitors (QSIs), such as MvfR antagonists and PqsBC inhibitors, on the biosynthesis of the MvfR-regulated small molecules 2'-aminoacetophenone (2-AA), dihydroxyquinoline (DHQ), HHQ, PQS, and 4-hydroxy-2-heptylquinoline-N-oxide (HQNO). The employed synthetic MvfR antagonist fully inhibited pqs small molecule formation showing expected sigmoidal dose-response curves for 2-AA, HQNO, HHQ and PQS. Surprisingly, DHQ levels were enhanced at lower antagonist concentrations followed by a full suppression at higher QSI amounts. This particular bi-phasic profile hinted at the accumulation of a biosynthetic intermediate resulting in the observed overproduction of the shunt product DHQ. Additionally, investigations on PqsBC inhibitors showed a reduction of MvfR natural ligands, while increased 2-AA, DHQ and HQNO levels compared to the untreated cells were detected. Moreover, PqsBC inhibitors did not show any significant effect in PA14 pqsC mutant demonstrating their target selectivity. As 2-AA is important for antibacterial tolerance, the QSIs were evaluated in their capability to attenuate persistence. Indeed, persister cells were reduced along with 2-AA inhibition resulting from MvfR antagonism, but not from PqsBC inhibition. In conclusion, antagonizing MvfR using a dosage capable of fully suppressing this QS system will lead to a favorable therapeutic outcome as DHQ overproduction is avoided and bacterial persistence is reduced.
    • Inhibition of 17β-HSD1: SAR of bicyclic substituted hydroxyphenylmethanones and discovery of new potent inhibitors with thioether linker.

      Abdelsamie, Ahmed S; Bey, Emmanuel; Hanke, Nina; Empting, Martin; Hartmann, Rolf W; Frotscher, Martin (2014-07-23)
      Estradiol is the most potent estrogen in humans. It is known to be involved in the development and proliferation of estrogen dependent diseases such as breast cancer and endometriosis. The last step of its biosynthesis is catalyzed by 17β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 1 (17β- HSD1) which consequently is a promising target for the treatment of these diseases. Recently, we reported on bicyclic substituted hydroxyphenylmethanones as potent inhibitors of 17β-HSD1. The present study focuses on rational structural modifications in this compound class with the aim of gaining more insight into its structure-activity relationship (SAR). (4-Hydroxyphenyl)-(5-(3-hydroxyphenylsulfanyl)-thiophen-2-yl)methanone (25) was discovered as a member of a novel potent class of human 17β-HSD1 inhibitors. Computational methods were used to elucidate its interactions with the target protein. The compound showed activity also towards the murine 17β-HSD1 enzyme and thus is a starting point for the design of compounds suitable for evaluation in an animal disease model.
    • Mild and Catalyst-Free Microwave-Assisted Synthesis of 4,6-Disubstituted 2-Methylthiopyrimidines – Exploiting Tetrazole as an Efficient Leaving Group

      Thomann, Andreas; Eberhard, Jens; Allegretta, Giuseppe; Empting, Martin; Hartmann, Rolf; Helmholtz Institute for Pharmaceutical Research Saarland (HIPS);Saarland University, Building A4.1, 66123 Saarbruecken, Germany.; Helmholtz-Institute for Pharmaceutical Research Saarland, Saarland University; Helmholtz-Institute for Pharmaceutical Research Saarland, Saarland University; Helmholtz-Institute for Pharmaceutical Research Saarland, Saarland University; Helmholtz-Institute for Pharmaceutical Research Saarland, Saarland University; et al. (2015-10-21)
    • Semi-synthetic vNAR libraries screened against therapeutic antibodies primarily deliver anti-idiotypic binders.

      Könning, Doreen; Rhiel, Laura; Empting, Martin; Grzeschik, Julius; Sellmann, Carolin; Schröter, Christian; Zielonka, Stefan; Dickgießer, Stephan; Pirzer, Thomas; Yanakieva, Desislava; et al. (2017-08-29)
      Anti-idiotypic binders which specifically recognize the variable region of monoclonal antibodies have proven to be robust tools for pharmacokinetic studies of antibody therapeutics and for the development of cancer vaccines. In the present investigation, we focused on the identification of anti-idiotypic, shark-derived IgNAR antibody variable domains (vNARs) targeting the therapeutic antibodies matuzumab and cetuximab for the purpose of developing specific capturing ligands. Using yeast surface display and semi-synthetic, CDR3-randomized libraries, we identified several highly specific binders targeting both therapeutic antibodies in their corresponding variable region, without applying any counter selections during screening. Importantly, anti-idiotypic vNAR binders were not cross-reactive towards cetuximab or matuzumab, respectively, and comprised good target recognition in the presence of human and mouse serum. When coupled to magnetic beads, anti-idiotypic vNAR variants could be used as efficient capturing tools. Moreover, a two-step procedure involving vNAR-functionalized beads was employed for the enrichment of potentially bispecific cetuximab × matuzumab antibody constructs. In conclusion, semi-synthetic and CDR3-randomized vNAR libraries in combination with yeast display enable the fast and facile identification of anti-idiotypic vNAR domains targeting monoclonal antibodies primarily in an anti-idiotypic manner.
    • The Shark Strikes Twice: Hypervariable Loop 2 of Shark IgNAR Antibody Variable Domains and Its Potential to Function as an Autonomous Paratope.

      Zielonka, Stefan; Empting, Martin; Könning, Doreen; Grzeschik, Julius; Krah, Simon; Becker, Stefan; Dickgießer, Stephan; Kolmar, Harald; 2Helmholtz-Institute for Pharmaceutical Research Saarland, Saarland University, Campus C2.3, 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (2015-08)
      In this present study, we engineered hypervariable loop 2 (HV2) of the IgNAR variable domain in a way that it solely facilitates antigen binding, potentially functioning as an autonomous paratope. For this, the surface-exposed loop corresponding to HV2 was diversified and antigen-specific variable domain of IgNAR antibody (vNAR) molecules were isolated by library screening using yeast surface display (YSD) as platform technology. An epithelial cell adhesion molecule (EpCAM)-specific vNAR was used as starting material, and nine residues in HV2 were randomized. Target-specific clones comprising a new HV2-mediated paratope were isolated against cluster of differentiation 3ε (CD3ε) and human Fcγ while retaining high affinity for EpCAM. Essentially, we demonstrate that a new paratope comprising moderate affinities against a given target molecule can be engineered into the vNAR scaffold that acts independent of the original antigen-binding site, composed of complementarity-determining region 3 (CDR3) and CDR1.
    • Single-domain antibodies for biomedical applications.

      Krah, Simon; Schröter, Christian; Zielonka, Stefan; Empting, Martin; Valldorf, Bernhard; Kolmar, Harald; Helmholtz-Institute for Pharmaceutical Research Saarland (HIPS), Saarland University, Campus C2.3, D-66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (2016-02)
      Single-domain antibodies are the smallest antigen-binding units of antibodies, consisting either only of one variable domain or one engineered constant domain that solely facilitates target binding. This class of antibody derivatives comprises naturally occurring variable domains derived from camelids and sharks as well as engineered human variable or constant antibody domains of the heavy or light chain. Because of their high affinity and specificity as well as stability, small size and benefit of multiple re-formatting opportunities, those molecules emerged as promising candidates for biomedical applications and some of these entities have already proven to be successful in clinical development.
    • 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.
    • Structure-Activity Relationships of 2-Sufonylpyrimidines as Quorum-Sensing Inhibitors to Tackle Biofilm Formation and eDNA Release of Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

      Thomann, Andreas; Brengel, Christian; Börger, Carsten; Kail, Dagmar; Steinbach, Anke; Empting, Martin; Hartmann, Rolf W; Helmholtz-Institute for Pharmaceutical Research Saarland (HIPS),Saarland Universitätscampus E8.1, 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (2016-11-21)
      Drug-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa (PA) strains are on the rise, making treatment with current antibiotics ineffective. Hence, circumventing resistance or restoring the activity of antibiotics by novel approaches is of high demand. Targeting the Pseudomonas quinolone signal quorum sensing (PQS-QS) system is an intriguing strategy to abolish PA pathogenicity without affecting the viability of the pathogen. Herein we report the structure-activity relationships of 2-sulfonylpyrimidines, which were previously identified as dual-target inhibitors of the PQS receptor PqsR and the PQS synthase PqsD. The SAR elucidation was guided by a combined approach using ligand efficiency and ligand lipophilicity efficiency to select the most promising compounds. In addition, the most effective inhibitors were rationally modified by the guidance of QSAR using Hansch analyses. Finally, these inhibitors showed the capacity to decrease biofilm mass and extracellular DNA, which are important determinants for antibiotic resistance.
    • Towards the evaluation in an animal disease model: Fluorinated 17β-HSD1 inhibitors showing strong activity towards both the human and the rat enzyme.

      Abdelsamie, Ahmed S; Bey, Emmanuel; Gargano, Emanuele M; van Koppen, Chris J; Empting, Martin; Frotscher, Martin; Helmholtz Institute for Pharmaceutical Research Saarland (HIPS), Campus C23, D-66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (2015-10-20)
      17β-Estradiol (E2), the most potent human estrogen, is known to be involved in the etiology of estrogen-dependent diseases (EDD) like breast cancer and endometriosis. 17β-Hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 1 (17β-HSD1) catalyses the last step of E2 biosynthesis and is thus a promising target for the treatment of EDD. The previously described bicyclic substituted hydroxyphenylmethanones (BSHs) display high inhibitory potency towards human 17β-HSD1, but marginal activity towards rodent 17β-HSD1, precluding a proof of principle study in an animal endometriosis model. The aim of this work was to perform structural optimizations in the BSHs class to enhance inhibitory activity against rodent (mouse and rat) 17β-HSD1 while maintaining activity against the human enzyme. The introduction of fluorine atoms on the benzoyl moiety resulted in compounds with the desired properties. Molecular docking and homology modeling were applied to elucidate the binding mode and interspecies differences in activity. Compound 33 is the most potent inhibitor of both human and rat 17β-HSD1 up to date (IC50 = 2 nM and 97 nM, respectively).