Emiliana Corti

University of Camerino, Camerino, The Marches, Italy

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Publications (8)25.65 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Antibiotics blocking bacterial cell wall assembly (beta-lactams and glycopeptides) are facing a challenge from the progressive spread of resistant pathogens. Lantibiotics are promising candidates to alleviate this problem. Microbisporicin, the most potent antibacterial among known comparable lantibiotics, was discovered during a screening applied to uncommon actinomycetes. It is produced by Microbispora sp. as two similarly active and structurally related polypeptides (A1, 2246-Da and A2, 2230-Da) of 24 amino acids linked by 5 intramolecular thioether bridges. Microbisporicin contains two posttranslational modifications that have never been reported previously in lantibiotics: 5-chloro-trypthopan and mono- (in A2) or bis-hydroxylated (in A1) proline. Consistent with screening criteria, microbisporicin selectively blocks peptidoglycan biosynthesis, causing cytoplasmic UDP-linked precursor accumulation. Considering its spectrum of activity and its efficacy in vivo, microbisporicin represents a promising antibiotic to treat emerging infections.
    Chemistry & Biology 02/2008; 15(1):22-31. · 6.16 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Important classes of antibiotics acting on bacterial cell wall biosynthesis, such as beta-lactams and glycopeptides, are used extensively in therapy and are now faced with a challenge because of the progressive spread of resistant pathogens. A discovery program was devised to target novel peptidoglycan biosynthesis inhibitors capable of overcoming these resistance mechanisms. The microbial products were first screened according to their differential activity against Staphylococcus aureus and its L-form. Then, activities insensitive to the addition of a beta-lactamase cocktail or d-alanyl-d-alanine affinity resin were selected. Thirty-five lantibiotics were identified from a library of broth extracts produced by 40,000 uncommon actinomycetes. Five of them showed structural characteristics that did not match with any known microbial metabolite. In this study, we report on the production, structure determination, and biological activity of one of these novel lantibiotics, namely, planosporicin, which is produced by the uncommon actinomycete Planomonospora sp. Planosporicin is a 2194 Da polypeptide originating from 24 proteinogenic amino acids. It contains lanthionine and methyllanthionine amino acids generating five intramolecular thioether bridges. Planosporicin selectively blocks peptidoglycan biosynthesis and causes accumulation of UDP-linked peptidoglycan precursors in growing bacterial cells. On the basis of its mode of action and globular structure, planosporicin can be assigned to the mersacidin (20 amino acids, 1825 Da) and the actagardine (19 amino acids, 1890 Da) subgroup of type B lantibiotics. Considering its spectrum of activity against Gram-positive pathogens of medical importance, including multi-resistant clinical isolates, and its efficacy in vivo, planosporicin represents a potentially new antibiotic to treat emerging pathogens.
    Biochemistry 06/2007; 46(20):5884-95. · 3.38 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In the course of a microbial product screening aimed at the discovery of novel antibiotics acting on bacterial protein synthesis, a complex of three structurally related tetrapeptides, namely, GE81112 factors A, B, and B1, was isolated from a Streptomyces sp. The screening was based on a cell-free assay of bacterial protein synthesis driven by a model mRNA containing natural initiation signals. In this study we report the production, isolation, and structure determination of these novel, potent and selective inhibitors of cell-free bacterial protein synthesis, which stably bind the 30S ribosomal subunit and inhibit the formation of fMet-puromycin. They did not inhibit translation by yeast ribosomes in vitro. Spectroscopic analyses revealed that they are tetrapeptides constituted by uncommon amino acids. While GE81112 factors A, B, and B1 were effective in inhibiting bacterial protein synthesis in vitro, they were less active against Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacterial cells. Cells grown in minimal medium were more susceptible to the compounds than those grown in rich medium, and this is most likely due to competition or regulation by medium components during peptide uptake. The novelty of the chemical structure and of the specific mode of action on the initiation phase of bacterial protein synthesis makes GE81112 a unique scaffold for designing new drugs.
    Biochemistry 04/2006; 45(11):3692-702. · 3.38 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: GE23077, a novel microbial metabolite recently isolated from Actinomadura sp. culture media, is a potent and selective inhibitor of bacterial RNA polymerase (RNAP). It inhibits Gram-positive (Bacillus subtilis) and Gram-negative (Escherichia coli) RNAPs with IC50 values (i.e. the concentration at which the enzyme activity is inhibited by 50%) in the 10(-8) m range, whereas it is not active on E. coli DNA polymerase or on eukaryotic (wheat germ) RNAP II (IC50 values > 10(-4) m in both cases). In spite of its potent activity on purified bacterial RNAPs, GE23077 shows a narrow spectrum of antimicrobial activity on Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria. To investigate the molecular basis of this behaviour, the effects of GE23077 on macromolecular biosynthesis were tested in E. coli cells permeabilized under different conditions. The addition of GE23077 to plasmolyzed cells resulted in an immediate and specific inhibition of intracellular RNA biosynthesis, in a dose-response manner, strongly suggesting that cell penetration is the main obstacle for effective antimicrobial activity of the antibiotic. Biochemical studies were also conducted with purified enzymes to obtain further insights into the mode of action of GE23077. Interestingly, the compound displays a behaviour similar to that of rifampicin, an antibiotic structurally unrelated to GE23077: both compounds act at the level of transcription initiation, but not on the sigma subunit and not on the formation of the promoter DNA-RNAP complex. Tests on different rifampicin-resistant E. coli RNAPs did not show any cross-resistance between the two compounds, indicating distinct binding sites on the target enzyme. In conclusion, GE23077 is an interesting new molecule for future mechanistic studies on bacterial RNAP and for its potential in anti-infective drug discovery.
    European Journal of Biochemistry 09/2004; 271(15):3146-54. · 3.58 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: GE 23077 factors A1, A2, B1 and B2 are novel antibiotics isolated from fermentation broths of an Actinomadura sp. strain. GE23077 antibiotics are cyclic peptides, which inhibit Escherichia coli RNA polymerase at nM concentrations. Both rifampicin-sensitive and rifampicin-resistant polymerases are inhibited, whereas E. coli DNA polymerase and wheat germ RNA polymerase are substantially not affected. In spite of the potent activity on the enzyme, the antibiotics generally show poor activity against whole cell bacteria. The spectrum of activity is restricted to Moraxella catarrhalis, including clinical isolates, with partial activity against Neisseria gonorrhoeae and Mycobacterium smegmatis.
    The Journal of Antibiotics 04/2004; 57(3):210-7. · 2.19 Impact Factor
  • ChemInform 01/2004; 35(36).
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    ABSTRACT: In this study we describe BI-K0058, a new inhibitor of the transcription-termination factor Rho belonging to a different chemical class from bicyclomycin, the only known antibiotic acting on Rho. BI-K0058 inhibits the poly(C)-dependent ATPase activity of Rho with an IC(50) of 25 microM as well as in vitro transcription-termination of two natural substrates, the Salmonella enterica hisG cistron and the f1 phage intergenic region. BI-K0058 does not affect photolabeling of Rho by ATP. The results of gel mobility shift experiments with a natural RNA substrate demonstrate that BI-K0058 inhibits the formation of the ATP-independent high affinity Rho-RNA complex.
    Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications 04/2003; 302(2):219-25. · 2.41 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Bicyclomycin is a commercially important antibiotic that has been shown to be effective against many gram-negative bacteria. Genetic and biochemical evidence indicates that the antibiotic interferes with RNA metabolism in Escherichia coli by inhibiting the activity of transcription termination factor Rho. However, the precise mechanism of inhibition is not completely known. In this study we have used in vitro transcription assays to analyze the effects of bicyclomycin on the termination step of transcription. The Rho-dependent transcription termination region located within the hisG cistron of Salmonella typhimurium has been used as an experimental system. The possible interference of the antibiotic with the various functions of factor Rho, such as RNA binding at the primary site, ATP binding, and hexamer formation, has been investigated by RNA gel mobility shift, photochemical cross-linking, and gel filtration experiments. The results of these studies demonstrate that bicyclomycin does not interfere with the binding of Rho to the loading site on nascent RNA. Binding of the factor to ATP is not impeded, on the contrary, the antibiotic appears to decrease the apparent equilibrium dissociation constant for ATP in photochemical cross-linking experiments. The available evidence suggests that this decrease might be due to an interference with the correct positioning of ATP within the nucleotide-binding pocket leading b an inherent block of ATP hydrolysis. Possibly, as a consequence of this interference, the antibiotic also prevents ATP-dependent stabilization of Rho hexamers.
    Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy 03/1998; 42(3):571-8. · 4.57 Impact Factor