• 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; www.cazy.org/GH171.html). 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • Identification of a 1-deoxy-D-xylulose-5-phosphate synthase (DXS) mutant with improved crystallographic properties.

      Gierse, Robin M; Reddem, Eswar R; Alhayek, Alaa; Baitinger, Dominik; Hamid, Zhoor; Jakobi, Harald; Laber, Bernd; Lange, Gudrun; Hirsch, Anna K H; Groves, Matthew R; et al. (Elsevier, 2021-01-05)
      In this report, we describe a truncated Deinococcus radiodurans 1-deoxy-D-xylulose-5-phosphate synthase (DXS) protein that retains enzymatic activity, while slowing protein degradation and showing improved crystallization properties. With modern drug-design approaches relying heavily on the elucidation of atomic interactions of potential new drugs with their targets, the need for co-crystal structures with the compounds of interest is high. DXS itself is a promising drug target, as it catalyzes the first reaction in the 2-C-methyl-D-erythritol 4-phosphate (MEP)-pathway for the biosynthesis of the universal precursors of terpenes, which are essential secondary metabolites. In contrast to many bacteria and pathogens, which employ the MEP pathway, mammals use the distinct mevalonate-pathway for the biosynthesis of these precursors, which makes all enzymes of the MEP-pathway potential new targets for the development of anti-infectives. However, crystallization of DXS has proven to be challenging: while the first X-ray structures from Escherichia coli and D. radiodurans were solved in 2004, since then only two additions have been made in 2019 that were obtained under anoxic conditions. The presented site of truncation can potentially also be transferred to other homologues, opening up the possibility for the determination of crystal structures from pathogenic species, which until now could not be crystallized. This manuscript also provides a further example that truncation of a variable region of a protein can lead to improved structural data.
    • Crystalline sponges as a sensitive and fast method for metabolite identification: Application to gemfibrozil and its phase I and II metabolites

      Rosenberger, Lara; Von Essen, Carolina; Khutia, Anupam; Kühn, Clemens; Urbahns, Klaus; Georgi, Katrin; Hartmann, Rolf W.; Badolo, Lassina; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, 2020-07-01)
      Understanding the metabolism of new drug candidates is important during drug discovery and development, as circulating metabolites may contribute to efficacy or cause safety issues. In the early phase of drug discovery, human in vitro systems are used to investigate human relevant metabolism. Though conventional techniques are limited in their ability to provide complete molecular structures of metabolites (liquid chromatography mass spectrometry) or require a larger amount of material not available from in vitro incubation (nuclear magnetic resonance), we here report for the first time the use of the crystalline sponge method to identify phase I and phase II metabolites generated from in vitro liver microsomes or S9 fractions. Gemfibrozil was used as a test compound. Metabolites generated from incubation with microsomes or S9 fractions, were fractionated using online fraction collection. After chromatographic purification and fractionation of the generated metabolites, single crystal X-ray diffraction of crystalline sponges was used to identify the structure of gemfibrozil metabolites. This technique allowed for complete structure elucidation of 5'-CH2OH gemfibrozil (M1), 4'-OH gemfibrozil (M2), 5'-COOH gemfibrozil (M3), and the acyl glucuronide of gemfibrozil, 1-O-β-glucuronide (M4), the first acyl glucuronide available in the Cambridge Crystallographic Data Centre. Our study shows that when optimal soaking is possible, crystalline sponges technology is a sensitive (nanogram amount) and fast (few days) method that can be applied early in drug discovery to identify the structure of pure metabolites from in vitro incubations. SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT: Complete structure elucidation of human metabolites plays a critical role in early drug discovery. Low amounts of material (nanogram) are only available at this stage and insufficient for nuclear magnetic resonance analysis. The crystalline sponge method has the potential to close this gap, as demonstrated in this study.
    • Directing Drugs to Bugs: Antibiotic-Carbohydrate Conjugates Targeting Biofilm-Associated Lectins of Pseudomonas aeruginosa .

      Meiers, Joscha; Zahorska, Eva; Röhrig, Teresa; Hauck, Dirk; Wagner, Stefanie; Titz, Alexander; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (ACS, 2020-10-02)
      Chronic infections by Pseudomonas aeruginosa are characterized by biofilm formation, which effectively enhances resistance toward antibiotics. Biofilm-specific antibiotic delivery could locally increase drug concentration to break antimicrobial resistance and reduce the drug's peripheral side effects. Two extracellular P. aeruginosa lectins, LecA and LecB, are essential structural components for biofilm formation and thus render a possible anchor for biofilm-targeted drug delivery. The standard-of-care drug ciprofloxacin suffers from severe systemic side effects and was therefore chosen for this approach. We synthesized several ciprofloxacin-carbohydrate conjugates and established a structure-activity relationship. Conjugation of ciprofloxacin to lectin probes enabled biofilm accumulation in vitro, reduced the antibiotic's cytotoxicity, but also reduced its antibiotic activity against planktonic cells due to a reduced cell permeability and on target activity. This work defines the starting point for new biofilm/lectin-targeted drugs to modulate antibiotic properties and ultimately break antimicrobial resistance.
    • Flotillin-mediated membrane fluidity controls peptidoglycan synthesis and MreB movement.

      Zielińska, Aleksandra; Savietto, Abigail; de Sousa Borges, Anabela; Martinez, Denis; Berbon, Melanie; Roelofsen, Joël R; Hartman, Alwin M; de Boer, Rinse; Van der Klei, Ida J; Hirsch, Anna Kh; et al. (eLife Sciences Publications, Ltd., 2020-07-14)
      Every living cell is enclosed by a flexible membrane made of molecules known as phospholipids, which protects the cell from harmful chemicals and other threats. In bacteria and some other organisms, a rigid structure known as the cell wall sits just outside of the membrane and determines the cell’s shape. There are several proteins in the membrane of bacteria that allow the cell to grow by assembling new pieces of the cell wall. To ensure these proteins expand the cell wall at the right locations, another protein known as MreB moves and organizes them to the appropriate place in the membrane and controls their activity. Previous studies have found that another class of proteins called flotillins are involved in arranging proteins and phospholipid molecules within membranes. Bacteria lacking these proteins do not grow properly and are unable to maintain their normal shape. However, the precise role of the flotillins remained unclear. Here, Zielińska, Savietto et al. used microscopy approaches to study flotillins in a bacterium known as Bacillus subtilis. The experiments found that, in the presence of flotillins, MreB moved around the membrane more quickly (suggesting it was more active) than when no flotillins were present. Similar results were observed when bacterial cells lacking flotillins were treated with a chemical that made membranes more ‘fluid’ – that is, made it easier for the molecules within the membrane to travel around. Further experiments found that flotillins allowed the phospholipid molecules within an artificial membrane to move around more freely, which increases the fluidity of the membrane. These findings suggest that flotillins make the membranes of bacterial cells more fluid to help cells expand their walls and perform several other processes. Understanding how bacteria control the components of their membranes will further our understanding of how many currently available antibiotics work and may potentially lead to the design of new antibiotics in the future.
    • Evaluation of Bacterial RNA Polymerase Inhibitors in a -Based Wound Infection Model in SKH1 Mice.

      Haupenthal, Jörg; Kautz, Yannik; Elgaher, Walid A M; Pätzold, Linda; Röhrig, Teresa; Laschke, Matthias W; Tschernig, Thomas; Hirsch, Anna K H; Molodtsov, Vadim; Murakami, Katsuhiko S; et al. (American Chemical Society (ACS), 2020-09-21)
      Chronic wounds infected with pathogens such as Staphylococcus aureus represent a worldwide health concern, especially in patients with a compromised immune system. As antimicrobial resistance has become an immense global problem, novel antibiotics are urgently needed. One strategy to overcome this threatening situation is the search for drugs targeting novel binding sites on essential and validated enzymes such as the bacterial RNA polymerase (RNAP). In this work, we describe the establishment of an in vivo wound infection model based on the pathogen S. aureus and hairless Crl:SKH1-Hrhr (SKH1) mice. The model proved to be a valuable preclinical tool to study selected RNAP inhibitors after topical application. While rifampicin showed a reduction in the loss of body weight induced by the bacteria, an acceleration of wound healing kinetics, and a reduced number of colony forming units in the wound, the ureidothiophene-2-carboxylic acid 1 was inactive under in vivo conditions, probably due to strong plasma protein binding. The cocrystal structure of compound 1 with RNAP, that we hereby also present, will be of great value for applying appropriate structural modifications to further optimize the compound, especially in terms of plasma protein binding.
    • Micro-rheological properties of lung homogenates correlate with infection severity in a mouse model of Pseudomonas aeruginosa lung infection.

      Murgia, Xabier; Kany, Andreas M; Herr, Christian; Ho, Duy-Khiet; de Rossi, Chiara; Bals, Robert; Lehr, Claus-Michael; Hirsch, Anna K H; Hartmann, Rolf W; Empting, Martin; et al. (Nature publishing group (NPG), 2020-10-05)
      Lung infections caused by Pseudomonas aeruginosa pose a serious threat to patients suffering from, among others, cystic fibrosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or bronchiectasis, often leading to life-threatening complications. The establishment of a chronic infection is substantially related to communication between bacteria via quorum-sensing networks. In this study, we aimed to assess the role of quorum-sensing signaling molecules of the Pseudomonas quinolone signal (PQS) and to investigate the viscoelastic properties of lung tissue homogenates of PA-infected mice in a prolonged acute murine infection model. Therefore, a murine infection model was successfully established via intra-tracheal infection with alginate-supplemented Pseudomonas aeruginosa NH57388A. Rheological properties of lung homogenates were analyzed with multiple particle tracking (MPT) and quorum-sensing molecules were quantified with LC-MS/MS. Statistical analysis of bacterial load and quorum-sensing molecules showed a strong correlation between these biomarkers in infected lungs. This was accompanied by noticeable changes in the consistency of lung homogenates with increasing infection severity. Furthermore, viscoelastic properties of the lung homogenates strongly correlated with bacterial load and quorum sensing molecules. Considering the strong correlation between the viscoelasticity of lung homogenates and the aforementioned biomarkers, the viscoelastic properties of infected lungs might serve as reliable new biomarker for the evaluation of the severity of P. aeruginosa infections in murine models.
    • Synthetic studies of cystobactamids as antibiotics and bacterial imaging carriers lead to compounds with high: In vivo efficacy

      Testolin, Giambattista; Cirnski, Katarina; Rox, Katharina; Prochnow, Hans; Fetz, Verena; Grandclaudon, Charlotte; Mollner, Tim; Baiyoumy, Alain; Ritter, Antje; Leitner, Christian; et al. (RSC, 2020-01-01)
      There is an alarming scarcity of novel chemical matter with bioactivity against multidrug-resistant Gram-negative bacterial pathogens. Cystobactamids, recently discovered natural products from myxobacteria, are an exception to this trend. Their unusual chemical structure, composed of oligomeric para-aminobenzoic acid moieties, is associated with a high antibiotic activity through the inhibition of gyrase. In this study, structural determinants of cystobactamid's antibacterial potency were defined at five positions, which were varied using three different synthetic routes to the cystobactamid scaffold. The potency against Acinetobacter baumannii could be increased ten-fold to an MIC (minimum inhibitory concentration) of 0.06 μg mL−1, and the previously identified spectrum gap of Klebsiella pneumoniae could be closed compared to the natural products (MIC of 0.5 μg mL−1). Proteolytic degradation of cystobactamids by the resistance factor AlbD was prevented by an amide-triazole replacement. Conjugation of cystobactamid's N-terminal tetrapeptide to a Bodipy moiety induced the selective localization of the fluorophore for bacterial imaging purposes. Finally, a first in vivo proof of concept was obtained in an E. coli infection mouse model, where derivative 22 led to the reduction of bacterial loads (cfu, colony-forming units) in muscle, lung and kidneys by five orders of magnitude compared to vehicle-treated mice. These findings qualify cystobactamids as highly promising lead structures against infections caused by Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacterial pathogens.