• 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • Induction of rare conformation of oligosaccharide by binding to calcium-dependent bacterial lectin: X-ray crystallography and modelling study.

      Lepsik, Martin; Sommer, Roman; Kuhaudomlarp, Sakonwan; Lelimousin, Mickaël; Paci, Emanuele; Varrot, Annabelle; Titz, Alexander; Imberty, Anne; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (Elsevier, 2019-09-01)
      Pathogenic micro-organisms utilize protein receptors (lectins) in adhesion to host tissues, a process that in some cases relies on the interaction between lectins and human glycoconjugates. Oligosaccharide epitopes are recognized through their three-dimensional structure and their flexibility is a key issue in specificity. In this paper, we analysed by X-ray crystallography the structures of the LecB lectin from two strains of Pseudomonas aeruginosa in complex with Lewis x oligosaccharide present on cell surfaces of human tissues. An unusual conformation of the glycan was observed in all binding sites with a non-canonical syn orientation of the N-acetyl group of N-acetyl-glucosamine. A PDB-wide search revealed that such an orientation occurs only in 4% of protein/carbohydrate complexes. Theoretical chemistry calculations showed that the observed conformation is unstable in solution but stabilised by the lectin. A reliable description of LecB/Lewis x complex by force field-based methods had proven especially challenging due to the special feature of the binding site, two closely apposed Ca2+ ions which induce strong charge delocalisation. By comparing various force-field parametrisations, we propose a general strategy which will be useful in near future for designing carbohydrate-based ligands (glycodrugs) against other calcium-dependent protein receptors.
    • Lectin antagonists in infection, immunity, and inflammation.

      Meiers, Joscha; Siebs, Eike; Zahorska, Eva; Titz, Alexander; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (Elsevier, 2019-08-27)
      Lectins are proteins found in all domains of life with a plethora of biological functions, especially in the infection process, immune response, and inflammation. Targeting these carbohydrate-binding proteins is challenged by the fact that usually low affinity interactions between lectin and glycoconjugate are observed. Nature often circumvents this process through multivalent display of ligand and lectin. Consequently, the vast majority of synthetic antagonists are multivalently displayed native carbohydrates. At the cost of disadvantageous pharmacokinetic properties and possibly a reduced selectivity for the target lectin, the molecules usually possess very high affinities to the respective lectin through ligand epitope avidity. Recent developments include the advent of glycomimetic or allosteric small molecule inhibitors for this important protein class and their use in chemical biology and drug research. This evolution has culminated in the transition of the small molecule GMI-1070 into clinical phase III. In this opinion article, an overview of the most important developments of lectin antagonists in the last two decades with a focus on the last five years is given
    • 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.
    • Protein-observed 19F NMR of LecA from Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

      Shanina, Elena; Siebs, Eike; Zhang, Hengxi; Silva, Daniel Varón; Joachim, Ines; Titz, Alexander; Rademacher, Christoph; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (Oxford Academic, 2020-06-23)
      The carbohydrate-binding protein LecA (PA-IL) from Pseudomonas aeruginosa plays an important role in the formation of biofilms in chronic infections. Development of inhibitors to disrupt LecA-mediated biofilms is desired, but limited to carbohydrate-based ligands. Moreover, discovery of drug-like ligands for LecA is challenging due to its weak affinities. Therefore, we established a protein-observed 19F (PrOF) NMR to probe ligand binding to LecA. LecA was labeled with 5 - fluoroindole to incorporate 5 - fluorotryptophanes and the resonances were assigned by site-directed mutagenesis. This incorporation did not disrupt LecA preference for natural ligands, Ca2+ and d - galactose. Following NMR resonance perturbation of W42, which is located in the carbohydrate-binding region of LecA, allowed to monitor binding of low affinity ligands such as N - acetyl d - galactosamine (d - GalNAc, Kd = 780 ± 97 μM). Moreover, PrOF NMR titration with glycomimetic of LecA p-nitrophenyl β-d-galactoside (pNPGal, Kd = 54 ± 6 μM) demonstrated a six-fold improved binding of d - Gal proving this approach to be valuable for ligand design in future drug discovery campaigns that aim to generate inhibitors of LecA.
    • A rapid synthesis of low-nanomolar divalent LecA inhibitors in four linear steps from d-galactose pentaacetate.

      Zahorska, Eva; Kuhaudomlarp, Sakonwan; Minervini, Saverio; Yousaf, Sultaan; Lepsik, Martin; Kinsinger, Thorsten; Hirsch, Anna K H; Imberty, Anne; Titz, Alexander; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (Royal Sciety of Chemistry, 2020-07-06)
      Chronic infections with Pseudomonas aeruginosa are associated with the formation of bacterial biofilms. The tetrameric P. aeruginosa lectin LecA is a virulence factor and an anti-biofilm drug target. Increasing the overall binding affinity by multivalent presentation of binding epitopes can enhance the weak carbohydrate-ligand interactions. Low-nanomolar divalent LecA ligands/inhibitors with up to 260-fold valency-normalized potency boost and excellent selectivity over human galectin-1 were synthesized from d-galactose pentaacetate and benzaldehyde-based linkers in four linear steps.
    • Virtual Screening Against Carbohydrate-Binding Proteins: Evaluation and Application to Bacterial Burkholderia ambifaria Lectin.

      Dingjan, Tamir; Gillon, Émilie; Imberty, Anne; Pérez, Serge; Titz, Alexander; Ramsland, Paul A; Yuriev, Elizabeth; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (American Chemical Society, 2018-09-24)
      Bacterial adhesion to human epithelia via lectins constitutes a therapeutic opportunity to prevent infection. Specifically, BambL (the lectin from Burkholderia ambifaria) is implicated in cystic fibrosis, where lectin-mediated bacterial adhesion to fucosylated lung epithelia is suspected to play an important role. We employed structure-based virtual screening to identify inhibitors of BambL-saccharide interaction with potential therapeutic value. To enable such discovery, a virtual screening protocol was iteratively developed via 194 retrospective screening protocols against 4 bacterial lectins (BambL, BC2L-A, FimH, and LecA) with known ligands. Specific attention was given to the rigorous evaluation of retrospective screening, including calculation of analytical errors for enrichment metrics. The developed virtual screening workflow used crystallographic constraints, pharmacophore filters, and a final manual selection step. The protocol was applied to BambL, predicting 15 active compounds from virtual libraries of approximately 7 million compounds. Experimental validation using fluorescence polarization confirmed micromolar inhibitory activity for two compounds, which were further characterized by isothermal titration calorimetry and surface plasmon resonance. Subsequent testing against LecB from Pseudomonas aeruginosa demonstrated binding specificity of one of the hit compounds. This report demonstrates the utility of virtual screening protocols, integrating ligand-based pharmacophore filtering and structure-based constraints, in the search for bacterial lectin inhibitors.