A Novel Pharmacophore Model for the Design of Anthrax Lethal Factor Inhibitors

Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute, 10901 North Torrey Pines Road, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA.
Chemical Biology & Drug Design (Impact Factor: 2.49). 09/2010; 76(3):263-8. DOI: 10.1111/j.1747-0285.2010.01000.x
Source: PubMed


This study aims at the identification of novel structural features on the surface of the Zn-dependent metalloprotease lethal factor (LF) from anthrax onto which to design novel and selective inhibitors. We report that by targeting an unexplored region of LF that exhibits ligand-induced conformational changes, we could obtain inhibitors with at least 30-fold LF selectivity compared to two other most related human metalloproteases, MMP-2 and MMP-9. Based on these results, we propose a novel pharmacophore model that, together with the preliminarily identified compounds, should help the design of more potent and selective inhibitors against anthrax.

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Available from: Sherida L Johnson, Jun 11, 2014
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    ABSTRACT: Anthrax is an acute infectious disease caused by the spore-forming bacterium Bacillus anthracis. The anthrax toxin lethal factor (LF), an 89-kDa zinc hydrolase secreted by the bacilli, is the toxin component chiefly responsible for pathogenesis and has been a popular target for rational and structure-based drug design. Although hundreds of small-molecule compounds have been designed to target the LF active site, relatively few reported inhibitors have exhibited activity in cell-based assays, and no LF inhibitor is currently available to treat or prevent anthrax. This study presents a new pharmacophore map assembly, validated by experiment, designed to rapidly identify and prioritize promising LF inhibitor scaffolds from virtual compound libraries. The new hypothesis incorporates structural information from all five available LF enzyme-inhibitor complexes deposited in the Protein Data Bank (PDB) and is the first LF pharmacophore map reported to date that includes features representing interactions involving all three key subsites of the LF catalytic binding region. In a wide-ranging validation study on all 546 compounds for which published LF biological activity data exist, this model displayed strong selectivity toward nanomolar-level LF inhibitors, successfully identifying 72.1% of existing nanomolar-level compounds in an unbiased test set, while rejecting 100% of weakly active (>100 μM) compounds. In addition to its capabilities as a database searching tool, this comprehensive model points to a number of key design principles and previously unidentified ligand-receptor interactions that are likely to influence compound potency.
    No preview · Article · Jun 2012 · Journal of Chemical Information and Modeling
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    ABSTRACT: Anthrax is an acute infectious disease caused by the spore-forming, gram-positive, rod-shaped bacterium Bacillus anthracis. The anthrax toxin lethal factor (LF) is the primary anthrax toxin component responsible for cytotoxicity and host death and has been a heavily researched target for design of postexposure therapeutics in the event of a bioterror attack. Various computer-aided drug design methodologies have proven useful for pinpointing new antianthrax drug scaffolds, optimizing existing leads and probes, and elucidating key mechanisms of action. We present a selection of in silico virtual screening protocols incorporating docking and scoring, shape-based searching, and pharmacophore mapping techniques to identify and prioritize small molecules with potential biological activity against LF. We also recommend screening parameters that have been shown to increase the accuracy and reliability of these computational results.
    No preview · Article · Apr 2013 · Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.)
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    ABSTRACT: The etiologic agent of disease anthrax, Bacillus anthracis, causes recurrent outbreaks among the livestock and intermittent infections in humans across the world. Controlling animal infections by vaccination can minimize the incidence of disease in humans. Prevention of anthrax in occupationally exposed personnel is achieved through vaccination with either live spores or precipitates of culture supernatants from attenuated strains of B. anthracis. However, anthrax vaccination of the large human population is impractical as well as inappropriate. Broad-range antibiotics like amoxicillin, ciprofloxacin, clindamycin, streptomycin, and penicillin G are recommended for the treatment of human anthrax infections, but the threat of antibiotic resistant strains always remains. Moreover, in the absence of any specific symptom (s) during early infection, the diagnosis of anthrax is delayed causing elevated levels of anthrax toxin component which could be fatal. For these reasons, there is a need to develop new antimicrobial agents against virulent B. anthracis to effectively combat this fatal pathogen. Over the last two decades, extensive studies have been carried out to develop specific inhibitors against virulence factors of B. anthracis such as capsule, protective antigen, lethal factor and edema factor. Research has also been focused in developing inhibitors of anthrax toxin receptors (including the use of receptor decoys) and host furin endoproteases which are required for activation of toxin. This review highlights the recent progress made in developing the diverse countermeasures for anthrax infections targeting B. anthracis virulence factors and their counterparts in host.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2014 · Recent Patents on Anti-Infective Drug Discovery
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