Structure-based design and screening of inhibitors for an essential bacterial GTPase, Der.
ABSTRACT Der is an essential and widely conserved GTPase that assists assembly of a large ribosomal subunit in bacteria. Der associates specifically with the 50S subunit in a GTP-dependent manner and the cells depleted of Der accumulate the structurally unstable 50S subunit, which dissociates into an aberrant subunit at a lower Mg(2+) concentration. As Der is an essential and ubiquitous protein in bacteria, it may prove to be an ideal cellular target against which new antibiotics can be developed. In the present study, we describe our attempts to identify novel antibiotics specifically targeting Der GTPase. We performed the structure-based design of Der inhibitors using the X-ray crystal structure of Thermotoga maritima Der (TmDer). Virtual screening of commercially available chemical library retrieved 257 small molecules that potentially inhibit Der GTPase activity. These 257 chemicals were tested for their in vitro effects on TmDer GTPase and in vivo antibacterial activities. We identified three structurally diverse compounds, SBI-34462, -34566 and -34612, that are both biologically active against bacterial cells and putative enzymatic inhibitors of Der GTPase homologs. We also presented the possible interactions of each compound with the Der GTP-binding site to understand the mechanism of inhibition. Therefore, our lead compounds inhibiting Der GTPase provide scaffolds for the development of novel antibiotics against antibiotic-resistant pathogenic bacteria.