[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Unbiased phenotypic screens enable identification of small molecules that inhibit pathogen growth by unanticipated mechanisms. These small molecules can be used as starting points for drug discovery programs that target such mechanisms. A major challenge of the approach is the identification of the cellular targets. Here we report GNF7686, a small molecule inhibitor of Trypanosoma cruzi, the causative agent of Chagas disease, and identification of cytochrome b as its target. Following discovery of GNF7686 in a parasite growth inhibition high throughput screen, we were able to evolve a GNF7686-resistant culture of T. cruzi epimastigotes. Clones from this culture bore a mutation coding for a substitution of leucine by phenylalanine at amino acid position 197 in cytochrome b. Cytochrome b is a component of complex III (cytochrome bc1) in the mitochondrial electron transport chain and catalyzes the transfer of electrons from ubiquinol to cytochrome c by a mechanism that utilizes two distinct catalytic sites, QN and QP. The L197F mutation is located in the QN site and confers resistance to GNF7686 in both parasite cell growth and biochemical cytochrome b assays. Additionally, the mutant cytochrome b confers resistance to antimycin A, another QN site inhibitor, but not to strobilurin or myxothiazol, which target the QP site. GNF7686 represents a promising starting point for Chagas disease drug discovery as it potently inhibits growth of intracellular T. cruzi amastigotes with a half maximal effective concentration (EC50) of 0.15 µM, and is highly specific for T. cruzi cytochrome b. No effect on the mammalian respiratory chain or mammalian cell proliferation was observed with up to 25 µM of GNF7686. Our approach, which combines T. cruzi chemical genetics with biochemical target validation, can be broadly applied to the discovery of additional novel drug targets and drug leads for Chagas disease.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Renewed global efforts toward malaria eradication have highlighted the need for novel antimalarial agents with activity against
multiple stages of the parasite life cycle. We have previously reported the discovery of a novel class of antimalarial compounds
in the imidazolopiperazine series that have activity in the prevention and treatment of blood stage infection in a mouse model
of malaria. Consistent with the previously reported activity profile of this series, the clinical candidate KAF156 shows blood
schizonticidal activity with 50% inhibitory concentrations of 6 to 17.4 nM against P. falciparum drug-sensitive and drug-resistant strains, as well as potent therapeutic activity in a mouse models of malaria with 50, 90,
and 99% effective doses of 0.6, 0.9, and 1.4 mg/kg, respectively. When administered prophylactically in a sporozoite challenge
mouse model, KAF156 is completely protective as a single oral dose of 10 mg/kg. Finally, KAF156 displays potent Plasmodium transmission blocking activities both in vitro and in vivo. Collectively, our data suggest that KAF156, currently under evaluation in clinical trials, has the potential to treat, prevent,
and block the transmission of malaria.
Full-text · Article · Jun 2014 · Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Rifampicin resistance, a defining attribute of multidrug resistant tuberculosis, is conferred by mutations in the β subunit of RNA polymerase. Sequencing of rifampicin resistant (RIF-R) clinical isolates of Mycobacterium tuberculosis revealed, in addition to RIF-R mutations, enrichment of potential compensatory mutations around the double-psi β-barrel domain of the β' subunit comprising the catalytic site and the exit tunnel for newly synthesized RNA. Sequential introduction of the resistance allele followed by the compensatory allele in isogenic M. smegmatis showed that these mutations respectively caused and compensated a starvation enhanced growth defect by altering RNA polymerase activity. While specific combinations of resistance and compensatory alleles converged in divergent lineages, other combinations recurred among related isolates suggesting transmission of compensated RIF-R strains. These findings suggest nutrient poor growth conditions impose larger selective pressure on RIF-R organisms that results in the selection of compensatory mutations in a domain involved in catalysis and starvation control of RNA polymerase transcription.
No preview · Article · Jan 2014 · Molecular Microbiology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Missense variants are a major source of human genetic variation. Here we analyze a new mouse missense variant, Rasgrp1Anaef, with an ENU-mutated EF hand in the Rasgrp1 Ras guanine nucleotide exchange factor. Rasgrp1Anaef mice exhibit anti-nuclear autoantibodies and gradually accumulate a CD44hi Helios+ PD-1+ CD4+ T cell population that is dependent on B cells. Despite reduced Rasgrp1-Ras-ERK activation in vitro, thymocyte selection in Rasgrp1Anaef is mostly normal in vivo, although CD44 is overexpressed on naïve thymocytes and T cells in a T-cell-autonomous manner. We identify CD44 expression as a sensitive reporter of tonic mTOR-S6 kinase signaling through a novel mouse strain, chino, with a reduction-of-function mutation in Mtor. Elevated tonic mTOR-S6 signaling occurs in Rasgrp1Anaef naïve CD4+ T cells. CD44 expression, CD4+ T cell subset ratios and serum autoantibodies all returned to normal in Rasgrp1AnaefMtorchino double-mutant mice, demonstrating that increased mTOR activity is essential for the Rasgrp1Anaef T cell dysregulation. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.01020.001
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: One of the main causes of mortality from severe malaria in Plasmodium falciparum infections is cerebral malaria (CM). An important host genetic component determines the susceptibility of an individual to develop CM or to clear the infection and become semi-immune. As such, the identification of genetic loci associated with susceptibility or resistance may serve to modulate disease severity.Methodology: The Plasmodium berghei mouse model for experimental cerebral malaria (ECM) reproduces several disease symptoms seen in human CM, and two different phenotypes, a susceptible (FVB/NJ) and a resistant mouse strain (DBA/2-J), were examined.
FVB/NJ mice died from infection within ten days, whereas DBA/2-J mice showed a gender bias: males survived on average nineteen days and females either died early with signs of ECM or survived for up to three weeks. A comparison of brain pathology between FVB/NJ and DBA/2-J showed no major differences with regard to brain haemorrhages or the number of parasites and CD3+ cells in the microvasculature. However, significant differences were found in the peripheral blood of infected mice: For example resistant DBA/2-J mice had significantly higher numbers of circulating basophils than did FVB/NJ mice on day seven. Analysis of the F2 offspring from a cross of DBA/2-J and FVB/NJ mice mapped the genetic locus of the underlying survival trait to chromosome 9 with a Lod score of 4.9. This locus overlaps with two previously identified resistance loci (char1 and pymr) from a blood stage malaria model.
Survival best distinguishes malaria infections between FVB/NJ and DBA/2-J mice. The importance of char1 and pymr on chromosome 9 in malaria resistance to P. berghei was confirmed. In addition there was an association of basophil numbers with survival.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Current treatments for Clostridium difficile infection include vancomycin, metronidazole and fidaxomicin. LFF571 is an experimental agent undergoing evaluation in humans for the treatment of moderate C. difficile infection. Reduced susceptibility of C. difficile to fidaxomicin or LFF571 in vitro can be mediated by single point mutations in genes encoding the targets, whereas the mechanism(s) mediating reduced susceptibility to vancomycin in vitro remains elusive. To further characterize mechanisms reducing susceptibility of C. difficile to vancomycin, fidaxomicin or LFF571 in vitro, selections via serial passage at low cell density were performed, followed by whole-genome sequencing.
C. difficile strain ATCC 43255 and three clinical isolates were subjected to 10 passages on medium containing a range of concentrations of fidaxomicin, LFF571 or vancomycin. Genomic DNA from isolates with reduced susceptibility was sequenced using Illumina Whole Genome Sequencing.
Clones exhibiting decreased susceptibility to fidaxomicin harboured mutations in rpoB and CD22120 (marR homologue). Clones exhibiting decreased susceptibility to vancomycin harboured mutations in rpoC and also in CD2725, CD3659 and sdaB, which encode a putative N-acetylglucosamine transferase, exonuclease and l-serine deaminase, respectively. All mutations resulted in non-synonymous substitutions. No clones with reduced susceptibility to LFF571 were selected in this study.
Reduced susceptibility to fidaxomicin and vancomycin was associated with mutations mediating target modifications (RNA polymerase and cell wall, respectively), as well as with mutations that may contribute to reduced susceptibility via other mechanisms. The MIC of LFF571 was unaffected for those mutants with reduced susceptibility to fidaxomicin or vancomycin.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We report a new class of thiophene (TP) compounds that kill Mycobacterium tuberculosis by the previously uncharacterized mechanism of Pks13 inhibition. An F79S mutation near the catalytic Ser55 site in Pks13 conferred TP resistance in M. tuberculosis. Overexpression of wild-type Pks13 resulted in TP resistance, and overexpression of the Pks13(F79S) mutant conferred high resistance. In vitro, TP inhibited fatty acyl-AMP loading onto Pks13. TP inhibited mycolic acid biosynthesis in wild-type M. tuberculosis, but it did so to a much lesser extent in TP-resistant M. tuberculosis. TP treatment was bactericidal and equivalent to treatment with the first-line drug isoniazid, but it was less likely to permit emergent resistance. Combined isoniazid and TP treatment resulted in sterilizing activity. Computational docking identified a possible TP-binding groove within the Pks13 acyl carrier protein domain. This study confirms that M. tuberculosis Pks13 is required for mycolic acid biosynthesis, validates it as a druggable target and demonstrates the therapeutic potential of simultaneously inhibiting multiple targets in the same biosynthetic pathway.
Full-text · Article · Jun 2013 · Nature Chemical Biology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A cell-based phenotypic screen for inhibitors of biofilm formation in mycobacteria identified the small molecule TCA1, which has bactericidal activity against both drug-susceptible and -resistant Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) and sterilizes Mtb in vitro combined with rifampicin or isoniazid. In addition, TCA1 has bactericidal activity against nonreplicating Mtb in vitro and is efficacious in acute and chronic Mtb infection mouse models both alone and combined with rifampicin or isoniazid. Transcriptional analysis revealed that TCA1 down-regulates genes known to be involved in Mtb persistence. Genetic and affinity-based methods identified decaprenyl-phosphoryl-beta-D-ribofuranose oxidoreductase DprE1 and MoeW, enzymes involved in cell wall and molybdenum cofactor biosynthesis, respectively, as targets responsible for the activity of TCA1. These in vitro and in vivo results indicate that this compound functions by a unique mechanism and suggest that TCA1 may lead to the development of a class of antituberculosis agents.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Argyrins, produced by myxobacteria and actinomycetes, are cyclic octapeptides with antibacterial and antitumor activity. Here, we identify elongation factor G (EF-G) as the cellular target of argyrin B in bacteria, via resistant mutant selection and whole genome sequencing, biophysical binding studies and crystallography. Argyrin B binds a novel allosteric pocket in EF-G, distinct from the known EF-G inhibitor antibiotic fusidic acid, revealing a new mode of protein synthesis inhibition. In eukaryotic cells, argyrin B was found to target mitochondrial elongation factor G1 (EF-G1), the closest homologue of bacterial EF-G. By blocking mitochondrial translation, argyrin B depletes electron transport components and inhibits the growth of yeast and tumor cells. Further supporting direct inhibition of EF-G1, expression of an argyrin B-binding deficient EF-G1 L693Q variant partially rescued argyrin B-sensitivity in tumor cells. In summary, we show that argyrin B is an antibacterial and cytotoxic agent that inhibits the evolutionarily conserved target EF-G, blocking protein synthesis in bacteria and mitochondrial translation in yeast and mammalian cells.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: SQ109, a 1,2-diamine related to ethambutol, is currently in clinical trials for the treatment of tuberculosis, but its mode
of action remains unclear. Here, we demonstrate that SQ109 disrupts cell wall assembly, as evidenced by macromolecular incorporation
assays and ultrastructural analyses. SQ109 interferes with the assembly of mycolic acids into the cell wall core of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, as bacilli exposed to SQ109 show immediate inhibition of trehalose dimycolate (TDM) production and fail to attach mycolates
to the cell wall arabinogalactan. These effects were not due to inhibition of mycolate synthesis, since total mycolate levels
were unaffected, but instead resulted in the accumulation of trehalose monomycolate (TMM), the precursor of TDM and cell wall
mycolates. In vitro assays using purified enzymes showed that this was not due to inhibition of the secreted Ag85 mycolyltransferases. We were
unable to achieve spontaneous generation of SQ109-resistant mutants; however, analogs of this compound that resulted in similar
shutdown of TDM synthesis with concomitant TMM accumulation were used to spontaneously generate resistant mutants that were
also cross-resistant to SQ109. Whole-genome sequencing of these mutants showed that these all had mutations in the essential
mmpL3 gene, which encodes a transmembrane transporter. Our results suggest that MmpL3 is the target of SQ109 and that MmpL3 is
a transporter of mycobacterial TMM.
Full-text · Article · Jan 2012 · Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Testing P. aeruginosa efflux pump mutants showed that the LpxC inhibitor CHIR-090 is a substrate for MexAB-OprM, MexCD-OprJ, and MexEF-OprN. Utilizing
P. aeruginosa PAO1 with a chromosomal mexC::luxCDABE fusion, luminescent mutants arose on medium containing 4 μg/ml CHIR-090, indicating upregulation of MexCD-OprJ. These mutants
were less susceptible to CHIR-090 (MIC, 4 μg/ml) and had mutations in the mexCD-oprJ repressor gene nfxB. Nonluminescent mutants (MIC, 4 μg/ml) that had mutations in the mexAB-oprM regulator gene mexR were also observed. Plating the clinical isolate K2153 on 4 μg/ml CHIR-090 selected mutants with alterations in mexS (immediately upstream of mexT), which upregulates MexEF-OprN. A mutant altered in the putative1ribosomal binding site (RBS) upstream of lpxC and overexpressing LpxC was selected on a related LpxC inhibitor and exhibited reduced susceptibility to CHIR-090. Overexpression
of LpxC from a plasmid reduced susceptibility to CHIR-090, and introduction of the altered RBS in this construct further increased
expression of LpxC and decreased susceptibility to CHIR-090. Using a mutS (hypermutator) strain, a mutant with an altered lpxC target gene (LpxC L18V) was also selected. Purified LpxC L18V had activity similar to that of wild-type LpxC in an in vitro assay but had reduced inhibition by CHIR-090. Finally, an additional class of mutant, typified by an extreme growth defect,
was identified. These mutants had mutations in fabG, indicating that alteration in fatty acid synthesis conferred resistance to LpxC inhibitors. Passaging experiments showed
progressive decreases in susceptibility to CHIR-090. Therefore, P. aeruginosa can employ several strategies to reduce susceptibility to CHIR-090 in vitro.
Full-text · Article · Jan 2012 · Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Most malaria drug development focuses on parasite stages detected in red blood cells, even though, to achieve eradication, next-generation drugs active against both erythrocytic and exo-erythrocytic forms would be preferable. We applied a multifactorial approach to a set of >4000 commercially available compounds with previously demonstrated blood-stage activity (median inhibitory concentration < 1 micromolar) and identified chemical scaffolds with potent activity against both forms. From this screen, we identified an imidazolopiperazine scaffold series that was highly enriched among compounds active against Plasmodium liver stages. The orally bioavailable lead imidazolopiperazine confers complete causal prophylactic protection (15 milligrams/kilogram) in rodent models of malaria and shows potent in vivo blood-stage therapeutic activity. The open-source chemical tools resulting from our effort provide starting points for future drug discovery programs, as well as opportunities for researchers to investigate the biology of exo-erythrocytic forms.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A search to identify new mechanisms of isoniazid resistance in Mycobacterium bovis led to the isolation of mutants defective in mycothiol biosynthesis due to mutations in genes coding for the glycosyltransferase
(mshA) or the cysteine ligase (mshC). These mutants showed low-level resistance to isoniazid but were highly resistant to ethionamide. This study further illustrates
that mutations in mycothiol biosynthesis genes may contribute to isoniazid or ethionamide resistance across mycobacterial
Full-text · Article · Jun 2011 · Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Plasmodium vivax causes 25-40% of malaria cases worldwide, yet research on this human malaria parasite has been neglected. Nevertheless, the recent publication of the P. vivax reference genome now allows genomics and systems biology approaches to be applied to this pathogen. We show here that whole-genome analysis of the parasite can be achieved directly from ex vivo-isolated parasites, without the need for in vitro propagation. A single isolate of P. vivax obtained from a febrile patient with clinical malaria from Peru was subjected to whole-genome sequencing (30× coverage). This analysis revealed over 18,261 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), 6,257 of which were further validated using a tiling microarray. Within core chromosomal genes we find that one SNP per every 985 bases of coding sequence distinguishes this recent Peruvian isolate, designated IQ07, from the reference Salvador I strain obtained in 1972. This full-genome sequence of an uncultured P. vivax isolate shows that the same regions with low numbers of aligned sequencing reads are also highly variable by genomic microarray analysis. Finally, we show that the genes containing the largest ratio of nonsynonymous-to-synonymous SNPs include two AP2 transcription factors and the P. vivax multidrug resistance-associated protein (PvMRP1), an ABC transporter shown to be associated with quinoline and antifolate tolerance in Plasmodium falciparum. This analysis provides a data set for comparative analysis with important potential for identifying markers for global parasite diversity and drug resistance mapping studies.
Full-text · Article · Oct 2010 · Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Candidate antibacterials are usually identified on the basis of their in vitro activity. However, the apparent inhibitory activity of new leads can be misleading because most culture media do not reproduce an environment relevant to infection in vivo. In this study, while screening for novel anti-tuberculars, we uncovered how carbon metabolism can affect antimicrobial activity. Novel pyrimidine-imidazoles (PIs) were identified in a whole-cell screen against Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Lead optimization generated in vitro potent derivatives with desirable pharmacokinetic properties, yet without in vivo efficacy. Mechanism of action studies linked the PI activity to glycerol metabolism, which is not relevant for M. tuberculosis during infection. PIs induced self-poisoning of M. tuberculosis by promoting the accumulation of glycerol phosphate and rapid ATP depletion. This study underlines the importance of understanding central bacterial metabolism in vivo and of developing predictive in vitro culture conditions as a prerequisite for the rational discovery of new antibiotics.
Full-text · Article · Aug 2010 · Nature Communications
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: An attenuated Mycobacterium bovisRD1 deletion (DeltaRD1) mutant of the Ravenel strain was constructed, characterized, and sequenced. This M. bovis DeltaRD1 vaccine strain administered to calves at 2 weeks of age provided similar efficacy as M. bovis bacillus Calmette Guerin (BCG) against low dose, aerosol challenge with virulent M. bovis at 3.5 months of age. Approximately 4.5 months after challenge, both DeltaRD1- and BCG-vaccinates had reduced tuberculosis (TB)-associated pathology in lungs and lung-associated lymph nodes and M. bovis colonization of tracheobronchial lymph nodes as compared to non-vaccinates. Mean central memory responses elicited by either DeltaRD1 or BCG prior to challenge correlated with reduced pathology and bacterial colonization. Neither DeltaRD1 or BCG elicited IFN-gamma responses to rESAT-6:CFP-10 prior to challenge, an emerging tool for modern TB surveillance programs. The DeltaRD1 strain may prove useful for bovine TB vaccine programs, particularly if additional mutations are included to improve safety and immunogenicity.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Rapid expansion of available data, both phenotypic and genotypic, for multiple strains of mice has enabled the development of new methods to interrogate the mouse genome for functional genetic perturbations. In silico mapping provides an expedient way to associate the natural diversity of phenotypic traits with ancestrally inherited polymorphisms for the purpose of dissecting genetic traits. In mouse, the current single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) data have lacked the density across the genome and coverage of enough strains to properly achieve this goal. To remedy this, 470,407 allele calls were produced for 10,990 evenly spaced SNP loci across 48 inbred mouse strains. Use of the SNP set with statistical models that considered unique patterns within blocks of three SNPs as an inferred haplotype could successfully map known single gene traits and a cloned quantitative trait gene. Application of this method to high-density lipoprotein and gallstone phenotypes reproduced previously characterized quantitative trait loci (QTL). The inferred haplotype data also facilitates the refinement of QTL regions such that candidate genes can be more easily identified and characterized as shown for adenylate cyclase 7.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The nature and organization of polymorphisms, or differences, between genomes of individuals are of great interest, because these variations can be associated with or even underlie phenotypic traits, including disease susceptibility. To gain insight into the genetic and evolutionary factors influencing such biological variation, we have examined the arrangement (haplotype) of single-nucleotide polymorphisms across the genomes of eight inbred strains of mice. These analyses define blocks of high or low diversity, often extending across tens of megabases that are delineated by abrupt transitions. These observations provide a striking contrast to the haplotype structure of the human genome.
Full-text · Article · Apr 2003 · Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences