• 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • Chemical synthesis of tripeptide thioesters for the biotechnological incorporation into the myxobacterial secondary metabolite argyrin via mutasynthesis.

      Siebert, David C B; Sommer, Roman; Pogorevc, Domen; Hoffmann, Michael; Wenzel, Silke C; Müller, Rolf; Titz, Alexander; BRICS, Braunschweiger Zentrum für Systembiologie, Rebenring 56,38106 Braunschweig, Germany. (Beilstein Institut, 2019-01-01)
      The argyrins are secondary metabolites from myxobacteria with antibiotic activity against Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Studying their structure-activity relationship is hampered by the complexity of the chemical total synthesis. Mutasynthesis is a promising approach where simpler and fully synthetic intermediates of the natural product's biosynthesis can be biotechnologically incorporated. Here, we report the synthesis of a series of tripeptide thioesters as mutasynthons containing the native sequence with a dehydroalanine (Dha) Michael acceptor attached to a sarcosine (Sar) and derivatives. Chemical synthesis of the native sequence ᴅ-Ala-Dha-Sar thioester required revision of the sequential peptide synthesis into a convergent strategy where the thioester with sarcosine was formed before coupling to the Dha-containing dipeptide.
    • Anti-biofilm Agents against Pseudomonas aeruginosa: A Structure-Activity Relationship Study of C-Glycosidic LecB Inhibitors

      Sommer, Roman; Rox, Katharina; Wagner, Stefanie; Hauck, Dirk; Henrikus, Sarah S; Newsad, Shelby; Arnold, Tatjana; Ryckmans, Thomas; Brönstrup, Mark; Imberty, Anne; et al. (American Chemical Society, 2019-10-24)
      Biofilm formation is a key mechanism of antimicrobial resistance. We have recently reported two classes of orally bioavailable C-glycosidic inhibitors of the Pseudomonas aeruginosa lectin LecB with antibiofilm activity. They proved efficient in target binding, were metabolically stable, nontoxic, selective, and potent in inhibiting formation of bacterial biofilm. Here, we designed and synthesized six new carboxamides and 24 new sulfonamides for a detailed structure-activity relationship for two clinically representative LecB variants. Sulfonamides generally showed higher inhibition compared to carboxamides, which was rationalized based on crystal structure analyses. Substitutions at the thiophenesulfonamide increased binding through extensive contacts with a lipophilic protein patch. These metabolically stable compounds showed a further increase in potency toward the target and in biofilm inhibition assays. In general, we established the structure-activity relationship for these promising antibiofilm agents and showed that modification of the sulfonamide residue bears future optimization potential.
    • 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.
    • 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
    • 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.
    • Pathoblockers or antivirulence drugs as a new option for the treatment of bacterial infections

      Calvert, Matthew B; Jumde, Varsha R; Titz, Alexander
      The rapid development of antimicrobial resistance is threatening mankind to such an extent that the World Health Organization expects more deaths from infections than from cancer in 2050 if current trends continue. To avoid this scenario, new classes of anti-infectives must urgently be developed. Antibiotics with new modes of action are needed, but other concepts are also currently being pursued. Targeting bacterial virulence as a means of blocking pathogenicity is a promising new strategy for disarming pathogens. Furthermore, it is believed that this new approach is less susceptible towards resistance development. In this review, recent examples of anti-infective compounds acting on several types of bacterial targets, e.g., adhesins, toxins and bacterial communication, are described.
    • Efficient Two Step β-Glycoside Synthesis from -Acetyl -Glucosamine: Scope and Limitations of Copper(II) Triflate-Catalyzed Glycosylation

      Sommer, Roman; Hauck, Dirk; Titz, Alexander; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institute für pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1, 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany.
      β‐Linked glycosides of N‐acetyl glucosamine are widespread in nature. Their direct synthesis is hampered by the low reactivity of GlcNAc as a glycosyl donor. We report a selective and rapid copper(II) triflate‐catalyzed two‐step synthesis of β‐glycosides of GlcNAc from cheap GlcNAc as starting material without purification of intermediates. α‐Specific glycosylation can be achieved by increasing the amount of catalyst and extending reaction times.
    • Crystal Structures of Fungal Tectonin in Complex with O-Methylated Glycans Suggest Key Role in Innate Immune Defense.

      Sommer, Roman; Makshakova, Olga N; Wohlschlager, Therese; Hutin, Stephanie; Marsh, May; Titz, Alexander; Künzler, Markus; Varrot, Annabelle; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus 8.1, 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (2018-03-06)
      Innate immunity is the first line of defense against pathogens and predators. To initiate a response, it relies on the detection of invaders, where lectin-carbohydrate interactions play a major role. O-Methylated glycans were previously identified as non-self epitopes and conserved targets for defense effector proteins belonging to the tectonin superfamily. Here, we present two crystal structures of Tectonin 2 from the mushroom Laccaria bicolor in complex with methylated ligands, unraveling the molecular basis for this original specificity. Furthermore, they revealed the formation of a ball-shaped tetramer with 24 binding sites distributed at its surface, resembling a small virus capsid. Based on the crystal structures, a methylation recognition motif was identified and found in the sequence of many tectonins from bacteria to human. Our results support a key role of tectonins in innate defense based on a distinctive and conserved type of lectin-glycan interaction.
    • N-Acetylmuramic Acid (MurNAc) Auxotrophy of the Oral PathogenTannerella forsythia: Characterization of a MurNAc Kinase and Analysis of Its Role in Cell Wall Metabolism.

      Hottmann, Isabel; Mayer, Valentina M T; Tomek, Markus B; Friedrich, Valentin; Calvert, Matthew B; Titz, Alexander; Schäffer, Christina; Mayer, Christoph; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus 8.1, 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (2018)
      Tannerella forsythia is an anaerobic, Gram-negative oral pathogen that thrives in multispecies gingival biofilms associated with periodontitis. The bacterium is auxotrophic for the commonly essential bacterial cell wall sugarN-acetylmuramic acid (MurNAc) and, thus, strictly depends on an exogenous supply of MurNAc for growth and maintenance of cell morphology. A MurNAc transporter (Tf_MurT; Tanf_08375) and an ortholog of theEscherichia colietherase MurQ (Tf_MurQ; Tanf_08385) converting MurNAc-6-phosphate to GlcNAc-6-phosphate were recently described forT. forsythia.In between the respective genes on theT. forsythiagenome, a putative kinase gene is located. In this study, the putative kinase (Tf_MurK; Tanf_08380) was produced as a recombinant protein and biochemically characterized. Kinetic studies revealed Tf_MurK to be a 6-kinase with stringent substrate specificity for MurNAc exhibiting a 6 × 104-fold higher catalytic efficiency (kcat/Km) for MurNAc than forN-acetylglucosamine (GlcNAc) withkcatvalues of 10.5 s-1and 0.1 s-1andKmvalues of 200 μM and 116 mM, respectively. The enzyme kinetic data suggest that Tf_MurK is subject to substrate inhibition (Ki[S]= 4.2 mM). To assess the role of Tf_MurK in the cell wall metabolism ofT. forsythia, a kinase deletion mutant (ΔTf_murK::erm) was constructed. This mutant accumulated MurNAc intracellularly in the exponential phase, indicating the capability to take up MurNAc, but inability to catabolize MurNAc. In the stationary phase, the MurNAc level was reduced in the mutant, while the level of the peptidoglycan precursor UDP-MurNAc-pentapeptide was highly elevated. Further, according to scanning electron microscopy evidence, theΔTf_murK::ermmutant was more tolerant toward low MurNAc concentration in the medium (below 0.5 μg/ml) before transition from healthy, rod-shaped to fusiform cells occurred, while the parent strain required > 1 μg/ml MurNAc for optimal growth. These data reveal thatT. forsythiareadily catabolizes exogenous MurNAc but simultaneously channels a proportion of the sugar into peptidoglycan biosynthesis. Deletion ofTf_murKblocks MurNAc catabolism and allows the direction of MurNAc solely to peptidoglycan biosynthesis, resulting in a growth advantage in MurNAc-depleted medium. This work increases our understanding of theT. forsythiacell wall metabolism and may pave new routes for lead finding in the treatment of periodontitis.
    • An efficient synthesis of 1,6-anhydro- N -acetylmuramic acid from N -acetylglucosamine

      Calvert, Matthew B; Mayer, Christoph; Titz, Alexander; Helmholtz Institut für pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1, 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (2017-12-11)
    • Covalent Lectin Inhibition and Application in Bacterial Biofilm Imaging.

      Wagner, Stefanie; Hauck, Dirk; Hoffmann, Michael; Sommer, Roman; Joachim, Ines; Müller, Rolf; Imberty, Anne; Varrot, Annabelle; Titz, Alexander; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für pharmazeutische Forchung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1, 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (2017-09-28)
      Biofilm formation by pathogenic bacteria is a hallmark of chronic infections. In many cases, lectins play key roles in establishing biofilms. The pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa often exhibiting various drug resistances employs its lectins LecA and LecB as virulence factors and biofilm building blocks. Therefore, inhibition of the function of these proteins is thought to have potential in developing "pathoblockers" preventing biofilm formation and virulence. A covalent lectin inhibitor specific to a carbohydrate binding site is described for the first time. Its application in the LecA-specific in vitro imaging of biofilms formed by P. aeruginosa is also reported.
    • Photorhabdus luminescens lectin A (PllA) - a new probe for detecting α-galactoside-terminating glycoconjugates.

      Beshr, Ghamdan; Sikandar, Asfandyar; Jemiller, Eva-Maria; Klymiuk, Nikolai; Hauck, Dirk; Wagner, Stefanie; Wolf, Eckhard; Koehnke, Jesko; Titz, Alexander; Helmholtz-Institute for Pharmaceutical Research Saarland (HIPS), Universitycampus E8.1, 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (2017-09-28)
      Lectins play important roles in infections by pathogenic bacteria, for example, in host colonization, persistence and biofilm formation. The Gram-negative entomopathogenic bacterium Photorhabdus luminescens symbiotically lives in insect-infecting Heterorhabditis nematodes and kills the insect host upon invasion by the nematode. The P. luminescens genome harbors the gene plu2096 coding for a novel lectin that we named PllA. We analyzed the binding properties of purified PllA with a glycan array and a binding assay in solution. Both assays revealed a strict specificity of PllA for alpha-galactoside-terminating glycoconjugates. The crystal structures of apo PllA and complexes with three different ligands revealed the molecular basis for the strict specificity of this lectin. Furthermore, we found that a 90 degree twist in subunit orientation leads to a peculiar quaternary structure compared with that of its ortholog LecA from Pseudomonas aeruginosa. We also investigated the utility of PllA as a probe for detecting alpha-galactosides. The alpha-Gal epitope is present on wild-type pig cells and the main reason for hyperacute organ rejection in pig to primate xenotransplantation. We noted that PllA specifically recognizes this epitope on the glycan array and demonstrated that PllA can be used as a fluorescent probe to detect this epitope on primary porcine cells in vitro. In summary, our biochemical and structural analyses of the P. luminescens lectin PllA have disclosed the structural basis for PllAs high specificity for alpha-galactoside-containing ligands, and we show that PllA can be used to visualize alpha-Gal epitope on porcine tissues.
    • Ciprofloxacin-loaded lipid-core nanocapsules as mucus penetrating drug delivery system intended for the treatment of bacterial infections in cystic fibrosis.

      Torge, Afra; Wagner, Stefanie; Chaves, Paula S; Oliveira, Edilene G; Guterres, Silvia S; Pohlmann, Adriana R; Titz, Alexander; Schneider, Marc; Beck, Ruy C R; Helmholtz Institut für pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1, 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (2017-05-10)
      Treatment of bacterial airway infections is essential for cystic fibrosis therapy. However, effectiveness of antibacterial treatment is limited as bacteria inside the mucus are protected from antibiotics and immune response. To overcome this biological barrier, ciprofloxacin was loaded into lipid-core nanocapsules (LNC) for high mucus permeability, sustained release and antibacterial activity. Ciprofloxacin-loaded LNC with a mean size of 180nm showed a by 50% increased drug permeation through mucus. In bacterial growth assays, the drug in the LNC had similar minimum inhibitory concentrations as the free drug in P. aeruginosa and S. aureus. Interestingly, formation of biofilm-like aggregates, which were observed for S. aureus treated with free ciprofloxacin, was avoided by exposure to LNC. With the combined advantages over the non-encapsulated drug, ciprofloxacin-loaded LNC represent a promising drug delivery system with the prospect of an improved antibiotic therapy in cystic fibrosis.
    • O-Alkylated heavy atom carbohydrate probes for protein X-ray crystallography: Studies towards the synthesis of methyl 2-O-methyl-L-selenofucopyranoside.

      Sommer, Roman; Hauck, Dirk; Varrot, Annabelle; Imberty, Anne; Künzler, Markus; Titz, Alexander; Helmholtz-Institute for Pharmaceutical Research Saarland (HIPS),Saarland Universitätscampus E8.1, 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (2016)
      Selenoglycosides are used as reactive glycosyl donors in the syntheses of oligosaccharides. In addition, such heavy atom analogs of natural glycosides are useful tools for structure determination of their lectin receptors using X-ray crystallography. Some lectins, e.g., members of the tectonin family, only bind to carbohydrate epitopes with O-alkylated ring hydroxy groups. In this context, we report the first synthesis of an O-methylated selenoglycoside, specifically methyl 2-O-methyl-L-selenofucopyranoside, a ligand of the lectin tectonin-2 from the mushroom Laccaria bicolor. The synthetic route required a strategic revision and further optimization due to the intrinsic lability of alkyl selenoglycosides, in particular for the labile fucose. Here, we describe a successful synthetic access to methyl 2-O-methyl-L-selenofucopyranoside in 9 linear steps and 26% overall yield starting from allyl L-fucopyranoside.
    • Development of a competitive binding assay for the Burkholderia cenocepacia lectin BC2L-A and structure activity relationship of natural and synthetic inhibitors

      Beshr, Ghamdan; Sommer, Roman; Hauck, Dirk; Siebert, David Chan Bodin; Hofmann, Anna; Imberty, Anne; Titz, Alexander (2016)
    • The virulence factor LecB varies in clinical isolates: consequences for ligand binding and drug discovery

      Sommer, Roman; Wagner, Stefanie; Varrot, Annabelle; Nycholat, Corwin M.; Khaledi, Ariane; Häussler, Susanne; Paulson, James C.; Imberty, Anne; Titz, Alexander (2016)
    • Cinnamide Derivatives of d -Mannose as Inhibitors of the Bacterial Virulence Factor LecB from Pseudomonas aeruginosa

      Sommer, Roman; Hauck, Dirk; Varrot, Annabelle; Wagner, Stefanie; Audfray, Aymeric; Prestel, Andreas; Möller, Heiko M.; Imberty, Anne; Titz, Alexander; Helmholtz Institute for Pharmaceutical Research Saarland (HIPS);Saarland University, Building A4.1, 66123 Saarbruecken, Germany.; et al. (2015-12)