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1.  Binding of Uridine 5′-Diphosphate in the “Basic Patch” of the Zinc Deacetylase LpxC and Implications for Substrate Binding†‡ 
Biochemistry  2006;45(51):15216-15223.
LpxC is a zinc metalloenzyme that catalyzes the first committed step in the biosynthesis of lipid A, a vital component of the outer membrane of Gram-negative bacteria. Accordingly, the inhibition of LpxC is an attractive strategy for the treatment of Gram-negative bacterial infections. Here, we report the 2.7 Å resolution X-ray crystal structure of LpxC from Aquifex aeolicus complexed with uridine 5′-diphosphate (UDP), and the 3.1 Å resolution structure of LpxC complexed with pyrophosphate. The X-ray crystal structure of the LpxC-UDP complex provides the first view of interactions likely to be exploited by the substrate UDP group in the “basic patch” of the active site. The diphosphate group of UDP makes hydrogen bond interactions with strictly conserved residue K239 as well as solvent molecules. The ribose moiety of UDP interacts with partially conserved residue E197. The UDP uracil group hydrogen bonds with both the backbone NH group and the backbone carbonyl group of E160, and with the backbone NH group of K162 through an intervening water molecule. Finally, the α-phosphate and uracil groups of UDP interact with R143 and R262 through intervening water molecules. The structure of LpxC complexed with pyrophosphate reveals generally similar intermolecular interactions in the basic patch. Unexpectedly, diphosphate binding in both complexes is accompanied by coordination to an additional zinc ion, resulting in the identification of a new metal-binding site termed the E-site. The structures of the LpxC-UDP and LpxC-pyrophosphate complexes provide new insights regarding substrate recognition in the basic patch and metal ion coordination in the active site of LpxC.
PMCID: PMC2527469  PMID: 17176043
2.  Inhibition of Lipid A Biosynthesis as the Primary Mechanism of CHIR-090 Antibiotic Activity in Escherichia coli 
Biochemistry  2007;46(12):3793-3802.
The deacetylation of UDP-3-O-(R-3-hydroxymyristoyl)-N-acetylglucosamine (UDP-3-O-acyl-GlcNAc) by LpxC is the committed reaction of lipid A biosynthesis. CHIR-090, a novel N-aroyl-l-threonine hydroxamic acid, is a potent, slow, tight-binding inhibitor of the LpxC deacetylase from the hyperthermophile Aquifex aeolicus, and it has excellent antibiotic activity against P. aeruginosa and E. coli, as judged by disk diffusion assays. We now report that CHIR-090 is also a two-step slow, tight-binding inhibitor of Escherichia coli LpxC with Ki = 4.0 nM, Ki* = 0.5 nM, k5 = 1.9 min-1 and k6 = 0.18 min-1. CHIR-090 at low nM levels inhibits LpxC orthologues from diverse Gram-negative pathogens, including Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Neisseria meningitidis, and Helicobacter pylori. In contrast, CHIR-090 is a relatively weak competitive and conventional inhibitor (lacking slow, tight-binding kinetics) of LpxC from Rhizobium leguminosarum (Ki = 340 nM), a Gram-negative plant endosymbiont that is resistant to this compound. The KM (4.8 μM) and the kcat (1.7 s-1) of R. leguminosarum LpxC with UDP-3-O-(R-3-hydroxymyristoyl)-N-acetylglucosamine as the substrate are similar to values reported for E. coli LpxC. R. leguminosarum LpxC therefore provides a useful control for validating LpxC as the primary target of CHIR-090 in vivo. An E. coli construct in which the chromosomal lpxC gene is replaced by R. leguminosarum lpxC is resistant to CHIR-090 up to 100 μg/mL, or 400 times above the minimal inhibitory concentration for wild-type E. coli. Given its relatively broad spectrum and potency against diverse Gram-negative pathogens, CHIR-090 is an excellent lead for the further development of new antibiotics targeting the lipid A pathway.
PMCID: PMC2709454  PMID: 17335290
3.  Mechanism and Inhibition of LpxC: an essential zinc-dependent deacetylase of bacterial lipid A synthesis 
Multi-drug resistant (MDR), pathogenic Gram-negative bacteria pose a serious health threat, and novel antibiotic targets must be identified to combat MDR infections. One promising target is the zinc-dependent metalloamidase UDP-3-O-(R-3-hydroxymyristoyl)-N-acetylglucosamine deacetylase (LpxC), which catalyzes the committed step of lipid A (endotoxin) biosynthesis. LpxC is an essential, single copy gene that is conserved in virtually all Gram-negative bacteria. LpxC structures, revealed by NMR and X-ray crystallography, demonstrate that LpxC adopts a novel ‘β-α-α-β sandwich’ fold and encapsulates the acyl chain of the substrate with a unique hydrophobic passage. Kinetic analysis revealed that LpxC functions by a general acid-base mechanism, with a glutamate serving as the general base.
Many potent LpxC inhibitors have been identified, and most contain a hydroxamate group targeting the catalytic zinc ion. Although early LpxC-inhibitors were either narrow-spectrum antibiotics or broad-spectrum in vitro LpxC inhibitors with limited antibiotic properties, the recently discovered compound CHIR-090 is a powerful antibiotic that controls the growth of E. coli and P. aeruginosa, with an efficacy rivaling that of the FDA-approved antibiotic ciprofloxacin. CHIR-090 inhibits a wide range of LpxC enzymes with sub-nanomolar affinity in vitro, and is a two-step, slow, tight-binding inhibitor of A. aeolicus and E. coli LpxC. The success of CHIR-090 suggests that potent LpxC-targeting antibiotics may be developed to control a broad range of Gram-negative bacteria.
PMCID: PMC3022321  PMID: 18289052
LpxC; CHIR-090; antibiotic; lipid A; lipopolysaccharide; endotoxin; catalysis; mechanism
4.  Uridine-based inhibitors as new leads for antibiotics targeting E. coli LpxC 
Biochemistry  2009;48(14):3068-3077.
The UDP-3-O-(R-3-hydroxyacyl)-N-acetylglucosamine deacetylase LpxC catalyzes the committed reaction of lipid A (endotoxin) biosynthesis in Gram-negative bacteria and is a validated antibiotic target. Although several previously described compounds bind to the unique acyl chain binding passage of LpxC with high affinity, strategies to target the enzyme's UDP-binding site have not been reported. Here the identification of a series of uridine-based LpxC inhibitors is presented. The most potent examined, 1-68A, is a pH-dependent, two-step, covalent inhibitor of E. coli LpxC that competes with UDP to bind the enzyme in the first step of inhibition. Compound 1-68A exhibits a KI of 54 μM and a maximal rate of inactivation (kinact) of 1.7 min-1 at pH 7.4. Dithiothreitol, glutathione and the C207A mutant of E. coli LpxC prevent the formation of a covalent complex by 1-68A, suggesting a role for Cys-207 in inhibition. The inhibitory activity of 1-68A and a panel of synthetic analogs identified moieties necessary for inhibition. 1-68A and a 2-dehydroxy analog, 1-68Aa, inhibit several purified LpxC orthologs. These compounds may provide new scaffolds for extension of existing LpxC-inhibiting antibiotics to target the UDP binding pocket.
PMCID: PMC2709817  PMID: 19256534
5.  Activation of E. coli UDP-3-O-(R-3-hydroxymyristoyl)-N-acetylglucosamine deacetylase by Fe2+ yields a more efficient enzyme with altered ligand affinity 
Biochemistry  2010;49(10):2246-2255.
The metal-dependent deacetylase UDP-3-O-(R-3-hydroxymyristoyl)-N-acetylglucosamine deacetylase (LpxC) catalyzes the first committed step in lipid A biosynthesis, the hydrolysis of UDP-3-O-myristoyl-N-acetyl-glucosamine to form UDP-3-O-myristoyl-glucosamine and acetate. Consequently, LpxC is a target for the development of antibiotics, virtually all of which coordinate the active site metal ion. Here we examine the ability of Fe2+ to serve as a cofactor for wild-type E. coli LpxC and a mutant enzyme (EcC63A), wherein one of the ligands for the inhibitory metal binding site has been removed. LpxC exhibits higher activity (6- to 8-fold) with a single bound Fe2+ as the cofactor compared to Zn2+-LpxC; both metalloenzymes have a bell-shaped dependence on pH with similar pKa values, indicating that at least two ionizations are important for maximal activity. X-ray absorption spectroscopy experiments suggest that the catalytic metal ion bound to Fe2+-EcLpxC is 5-coordinate, suggesting that catalytic activity may correlate with coordination number. Furthermore, the ligand affinity of Fe2+-LpxC compared to the Zn2+ enzyme alters by up to 6-fold. In contrast to Zn2+-LpxC, the activity of Fe2+-LpxC is redox sensitive and a time-dependent decrease in activity is observed under aerobic conditions. The LpxC activity of crude E. coli cell lysates is also aerobically sensitive, consistent with the presence of Fe2+-LpxC. These data indicate that EcLpxC can use either Fe2+ or Zn2+ to activate catalysis in vitro and possibly in vivo, which may allow LpxC to function in E. coli grown under different environmental conditions.
PMCID: PMC2884013  PMID: 20136146
LpxC; metal-dependent deacetylase; regulation; iron; zinc; cambialistic enzyme
6.  Structure of the Metal-Dependent Deacetylase LpxC from Yersinia enterocolitica Complexed with the Potent Inhibitor CHIR-090†‡ 
Biochemistry  2010;50(2):258-265.
The first committed step of lipid A biosynthesis is catalyzed by UDP-(3-O-(R-3-hydroxymyristoyl))-N-acetylglucosamine deacetylase, a metal-dependent deacetylase also known as LpxC. Because lipid A is essential for bacterial viability, the inhibition of LpxC is an appealing therapeutic strategy for the treatment of Gram-negative bacterial infections. Here we report the 1.79 Å resolution X-ray crystal structure of LpxC from Yersinia enterocolitica (YeLpxC) complexed with the potent hydroxamate inhibitor CHIR-090. This enzyme is a nearly-identical orthologue of LpxC from Yersinia pestis (99.7% sequence identity), the pathogen that causes bubonic plague. Similar to the inhibition of LpxC from Escherichia coli, CHIR-090 inhibits YeLpxC via a two-step slow, tight-binding mechanism with an apparent Ki of 0.54 ± 0.14 nM followed by conversion of the E•I to E•I* species with a rate constant of 0.11 ± 0.01 min−1. The structure of the LpxC complex with CHIR-090 shows that the inhibitor hydroxamate group chelates the active site zinc ion, and the “tail” of the inhibitor binds in the hydrophobic tunnel in the active site. This hydrophobic tunnel is framed by a βαβ subdomain that exhibits significant conformational flexibility as it accommodates inhibitor binding. CHIR-090 displays a 27 mm zone of inhibition against Y. enterocolitica in a Kirby-Bauer antibiotic assay, which is comparable to its reported activity against other Gram-negative species including E. coli and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. This study demonstrates that the inhibition of LpxC should be explored as a potential therapeutic and/or prophylatic response to infection by weaponized Yersinia species.
PMCID: PMC3070812  PMID: 21171638
7.  Structural Basis for the Sugar Nucleotide and Acyl Chain Selectivity of Leptospira interrogans LpxA 
Biochemistry  2009;48(26):6191-6201.
The first step of lipid A biosynthesis is catalyzed by LpxA in Escherichia coli (EcLpxA), an acyltransferase selective for UDP-GlcNAc and R-3-hydroxymyristoyl-acyl carrier protein (ACP). Leptospira interrogans LpxA (LiLpxA) is extremely selective for R-3-hydroxylauroyl-ACP and an analogue of UDP-GlcNAc, designated UDP-GlcNAc3N, in which NH2 replaces the GlcNAc 3-OH group. EcLpxA does not discriminate between UDP-GlcNAc and UDP-GlcNAc3N; however, E. coli does not make UDP-GlcNAc3N. With LiLpxA R-3-hydroxylauroyl-methylphosphopantetheine efficiently substitutes for R-3-hydroxylauroyl-ACP. We now present crystal structures of free LiLpxA, and of its complexes with its product UDP-3-N-(R-3-hydroxylauroyl)-GlcNAc3N and with its substrate R-3-hydroxylauroyl-methylphosphopantetheine. The positions of the acyl chains of the R-3-hydroxylauroyl-methylphosphopantetheine and of the UDP-3-N-(R-3-hydroxylauroyl)-GlcNAc3N are almost identical, and are similar to that of the acyl chain in the EcLpxA/UDP-3-O-(R-3-hydroxymyristoyl)-GlcNAc complex. The selectivity of LiLpxA for UDP-GlcNAc3N may be explained by the orientation of the backbone carbonyl group of Q68, which differs by ∼82° from the corresponding Q73 carbonyl group in EcLpxA. This arrangement provides an extra hydrogen bond acceptor for the 3-NH2 group of UDP-GlcNAc3N in LiLpxA. The R-3-hydroxylauroyl-selectivity of LiLpxA is explained by the position of the K171 side chain, which limits the length of the acyl chain-binding groove. Our results support the role of LiLpxA H120 (which corresponds to EcLpxA H125) as the catalytic base and provide the first structural information about the orientation of the phosphopantetheine moiety during LpxA catalysis.
PMCID: PMC2710806  PMID: 19456129
8.  A slow, tight-binding inhibitor of the zinc-dependent deacetylase LpxC of lipid A biosynthesis with antibiotic activity comparable to ciprofloxacin 
Biochemistry  2005;44(50):16574-16583.
The zinc-dependent enzyme LpxC catalyzes the deacetylation of UDP-3-O-acyl-GlcNAc, the first committed step of lipid A biosynthesis. Lipid A is an essential component of the outer membranes of most Gram-negative bacteria, including Escherichia coli, Salmonella enterica and Pseudomonas aeruginosa, making LpxC an attractive target for antibiotic design. The inhibition of LpxC by a novel N-aroyl-L-threonine hydroxamic acid (CHIR-090) from a recent patent application (International Patent WO 2004/062601 A2 to Chiron and the University of Washington) is reported here. CHIR-090 possesses remarkable antibiotic activity against both E. coli and P. aeruginosa, comparable to that of ciprofloxacin. The biological activity of CHIR-090 is explained by its inhibition of diverse LpxC orthologs at low nM concentrations, including that of Aquifex aeolicus, for which structural information is available. The inhibition of A. aeolicus LpxC by CHIR-090 occurs in two steps. The first step is rapid and reversible, with a Ki of 1.0 - 1.7 nM, depending on the method of assay. The second step involves the conversion of the EI complex with a half-life of about a minute to a tightly bound form. The second step is functionally irreversible but does not result in the covalent modification of the enzyme, as judged by electrospray-ionization mass spectrometry. CHIR-090 is the first example of a slow, tight-binding inhibitor for LpxC, and may be the prototype for a new generation of LpxC inhibitors with therapeutic applicability.
PMCID: PMC2742919  PMID: 16342948
9.  Molecular Validation of LpxC as an Antibacterial Drug Target in Pseudomonas aeruginosa 
LpxC [UDP-3-O-(R-3-hydroxymyristoyl)-GlcNAc deacetylase] is a metalloamidase that catalyzes the first committed step in the biosynthesis of the lipid A component of lipopolysaccharide. A previous study (H. R. Onishi, B. A. Pelak, L. S. Gerckens, L. L. Silver, F. M. Kahan, M. H. Chen, A. A. Patchett, S. M. Galloway, S. A. Hyland, M. S. Anderson, and C. R. H. Raetz, Science 274:980-982, 1996) identified a series of synthetic LpxC-inhibitory molecules that were bactericidal for Escherichia coli. These molecules did not inhibit the growth of Pseudomonas aeruginosa and were therefore not developed further as antibacterial drugs. The inactivity of the LpxC inhibitors for P. aeruginosa raised the possibility that LpxC activity might not be essential for all gram-negative bacteria. By placing the lpxC gene of P. aeruginosa under tight control of an arabinose-inducible promoter, we demonstrated the essentiality of LpxC activity for P. aeruginosa. It was found that compound L-161,240, the most potent inhibitor from the previous study, was active against a P. aeruginosa construct in which the endogenous lpxC gene was inactivated and in which LpxC activity was supplied by the lpxC gene from E. coli. Conversely, an E. coli construct in which growth was dependent on the P. aeruginosa lpxC gene was resistant to the compound. The differential activities of L-161,240 against the two bacterial species are thus the result primarily of greater potency toward the E. coli enzyme rather than of differences in the intrinsic resistance of the bacteria toward antibacterial compounds due to permeability or efflux. These data validate P. aeruginosa LpxC as a target for novel antibiotic drugs and should help direct the design of inhibitors against clinically important gram-negative bacteria.
PMCID: PMC1479155  PMID: 16723580
10.  Crystal Structure and Acyl Chain Selectivity of Escherichia coli LpxD, the N-Acyltransferase of Lipid A Biosynthesis 
Biochemistry  2009;48(36):8672-8683.
LpxD catalyzes the third step of lipid A biosynthesis, the R-3-hydroxyacyl-ACP-dependent N-acylation of UDP-3-O-(acyl)- α-D-glucosamine, and is a target for new antibiotic development. Here we report the 2.6 Å crystal structure of the Escherichia coli LpxD homotrimer (EcLpxD). As is the case in Chlamydia trachomatis LpxD (CtLxpD), each EcLpxD chain consists of an N-terminal uridine-binding region, a left-handed parallel β-helix (LβH), and a C-terminal α-helical domain. The backbones of the LβH domains of the two enzymes are similar, as are the positions of key active site residues. The N-terminal nucleotide binding domains are oriented differently relative to the LβH regions, but are similar when overlaid on each other. The orientation of the EcLpxD tripeptide (residues 303-305), connecting the distal end of the LβH and the proximal end of the C-terminal helical domains, differs from its counterpart in CtLpxD (residues 311-312); this results in a 120° rotation of the C-terminal domain relative to the LβH region in EcLpxD versus CtLpxD. M290 of EcLpxD appears to cap the distal end of a hydrophobic cleft that binds the acyl chain of the R-3-hydroxyacyl-ACP donor substrate. Under standard assay conditions, wild-type EcLpxD prefers R,S-3-hydroxymyristoyl-ACP over R,S-3-hydroxypalmitoyl-ACP by a factor of 3, whereas the M290A mutant has the opposite selectivity. Both wild-type and M290A EcLpxD rescue the conditional lethality of E. coli RL25, a temperature-sensitive strain harboring point mutations in lpxD. Complementation with wild-type EcLpxD restores normal lipid A containing only N-linked hydroxymyristate to RL25 at 42 °C, as judged by mass spectrometry, whereas the M290A mutant generates multiple lipid A species containing one or two longer hydroxy fatty acids in place of the usual R-3-hydroxymyristate at positions 2 and 2′.
PMCID: PMC2748855  PMID: 19655786
11.  Steady-State Kinetics and Mechanism of LpxD, the N-Acyltransferase of Lipid A Biosynthesis 
Biochemistry  2008;47(19):5290-5302.
LpxD catalyzes the third step of lipid A biosynthesis, the R-3-hydroxymyristoyl-acyl carrier protein (R-3-OHC14-ACP)-dependent N-acylation of UDP-3-O-(R-3-hydroxymyristoyl)-α-D-glucosamine [UDP-3-O-(R-3-OHC14)-GlcN]. We have now over-expressed and purified E. coli LpxD to homogeneity. Steady state kinetics suggest a compulsory ordered mechanism in which R-3-OHC14-ACP binds prior to UDP-3-O-(R-3-OHC14)-GlcN. The product, UDP-2,3-diacylglucosamine, dissociates prior to ACP; the latter is a competitive inhibitor against R-3-OHC14-ACP and a noncompetitive inhibitor against UDP-3-O-(R-3-OHC14)-GlcN. UDP-2-N-(R-3-hydroxymyristoyl)-α-D-glucosamine, obtained by mild base hydrolysis of UDP-2,3-diacylglucosamine, is a noncompetitive inhibitor against both substrates. Synthetic R-3-hydroxylauroyl-methylphosphopantetheine is an uncompetitive inhibitor against R-3-OHC14-ACP and a competitive inhibitor against UDP-3-O-(R-3-OHC14)-GlcN, but R-3-hydroxylauroyl-methylphosphopantetheine is also a very poor substrate. A compulsory ordered mechanism is consistent with the fact that R-3-OHC14-ACP has a high binding affinity for free LpxD, whereas UDP-3-O-(R-3-OHC14)-GlcN does not. Divalent cations inhibit R-3-OHC14-ACP-dependent acylation but not R-3-hydroxylauroyl-methylphosphopantetheine-dependent acylation, indicating that the acidic recognition helix of R-3-OHC14-ACP contributes to binding. The F41A mutation increases the KM for UDP-3-O-(R-3-OHC14)-GlcN 30-fold, consistent with aromatic stacking of the corresponding F43 side chain against the uracil moiety of bound UDP-GlcNAc in the x-ray structure of Chlamydia trachomatis LpxD. Mutagenesis implicates E. coli H239 but excludes H276 as the catalytic base, and neither residue is likely to stabilize the oxyanion intermediate.
PMCID: PMC2435086  PMID: 18422345
12.  Mechanisms Decreasing In Vitro Susceptibility to the LpxC Inhibitor CHIR-090 in the Gram-Negative Pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa 
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.
PMCID: PMC3256010  PMID: 22024823
13.  Mechanistic Inferences from the Binding of Ligands to LpxC, a Metal-Dependent Deacetylase†,‡ 
Biochemistry  2006;45(26):7940-7948.
The metal-dependent deacetylase LpxC catalyzes the first committed step of lipid A biosynthesis in Gram-negative bacteria. Accordingly, LpxC is an attractive target for the development of inhibitors that may serve as potential new antibiotics for the treatment of Gram-negative bacterial infections. Here, we report the 2.7 Å resolution X-ray crystal structure of LpxC complexed with the substrate analogue inhibitor, TU-514, and the 2.0 Å resolution structure of LpxC complexed with imidazole. The X-ray crystal structure of LpxC complexed with TU-514 allows for a detailed examination of the coordination geometry of the catalytic zinc ion and other enzyme-inhibitor interactions in the active site. The hydroxamate group of TU-514 forms a bidentate chelate complex with the zinc ion and makes hydrogen bond interactions with conserved active site residues E78, H265, and T191. The inhibitor C-4 hydroxyl group makes direct hydrogen bond interactions with E197 and H58. Finally, the C-3 myristate moiety of the inhibitor binds in the hydrophobic tunnel of the active site. These intermolecular interactions provide a foundation for understanding structural aspects of enzyme-substrate and enzyme-inhibitor affinity. Comparison of the TU-514 complex with cacodylate and imidazole complexes suggests a possible substrate diphosphate binding site and highlights residues that may stabilize the tetrahedral intermediate and its flanking transition states in catalysis. Evidence is also presented for a catalytic zinc ion in the native zinc enzyme coordinated by H79, H238, D242, and two water molecules with square pyramidal geometry. These results suggest that the native state of this metallohydrolase may contain a pentacoordinate zinc ion, which contrasts with the native states of archetypical zinc hydrolases such as thermolysin and carboxypeptidase A.
PMCID: PMC2505344  PMID: 16800620
14.  Expression Cloning of a Pseudomonas Gene Encoding a Hydroxydecanoyl-Acyl Carrier Protein-Dependent UDP-GlcNAc Acyltransferase 
Journal of Bacteriology  1998;180(2):330-337.
UDP-N-acetylglucosamine-3-O-acyltransferase (UDP-GlcNAc acyltransferase) catalyzes the first step of lipid A biosynthesis (M. S. Anderson and C. R. H. Raetz, J. Biol. Chem. 262:5159–5169, 1987). We here report the isolation of the lpxA gene of Pseudomonas aeruginosa from a library of Pseudomonas strain PAO1 expressed in Escherichia coli LE392 (J. Lightfoot and J. S. Lam, J. Bacteriol. 173:5624–5630, 1991). Pseudomonas lpxA encodes a 10-carbon-specific UDP-GlcNAc acyltransferase, whereas the E. coli transferase is selective for a 14-carbon acyl chain. Recombinant cosmid 1137 enabled production of a 3-hydroxydecanoyl-specific UDP-GlcNAc acyltransferase in E. coli. It was identified by assaying lysozyme-EDTA lysates of individual members of the library with 3-hydroxydecanoyl-acyl carrier protein (ACP) as the substrate. Cosmid 1137 contained a 20-kb insert of P. aeruginosa DNA. The lpxA gene region was localized to a 1.3-kb SalI-PstI fragment. Sequencing revealed that it contains one complete open reading frame (777 bp) encoding a new lpxA homolog. The predicted Pseudomonas LpxA is 258 amino acids long and contains 21 complete hexapeptide repeating units, spaced in approximately the same manner as the 24 repeats of E. coli LpxA. The P. aeruginosa UDP-GlcNAc acyltransferase is 54% identical and 67% similar to the E. coli enzyme. A plasmid (pGD3) containing the 1.3-kb SalI-PstI fragment complemented E. coli RO138, a temperature-sensitive mutant harboring lpxA2. LpxA assays of extracts of this construct indicated that it is >1,000-fold more selective for 3-hydroxydecanoyl-ACP than for 3-hydroxymyristoyl-ACP. Mass spectrometry of lipid A isolated from this strain by hydrolysis at pH 4.5 revealed [M-H]− 1,684.5 (versus 1,796.5 for wild-type lipid A), consistent with 3-hydroxydecanoate rather than 3-hydroxymyristate at positions 3 and 3′.
PMCID: PMC106888  PMID: 9440522
15.  Antibacterial Activities and Characterization of Novel Inhibitors of LpxC 
Lipid A is the hydrophobic anchor of lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and forms the major lipid component of the outer monolayer of the outer membrane of gram-negative bacteria. Lipid A is required for bacterial growth and virulence, and inhibition of its biosynthesis is lethal to bacteria. UDP-3-O-(R-3-hydroxymyristoyl)-N-acetylglucosamine deacetylase (LpxC) is a metalloenzyme that catalyzes the second step in the biosynthesis of lipid A. Inhibitors of LpxC have previously been shown to have antibiotic activities. We have screened a metalloenzyme inhibitor library for antibacterial activities against an Escherichia coli strain with reduced LpxC activity. From this screen, a series of sulfonamide derivatives of the α-(R)-amino hydroxamic acids, exemplified by BB-78484 and BB-78485, have been identified as having potent inhibitory activities against LpxC in an in vitro assay. Leads from this series showed gram-negative selective activities against members of the Enterobacteriaceae, Serratia marcescens, Morganella morganii, Haemophilus influenzae, Moraxella catarrhalis, and Burkholderia cepacia. BB-78484 was bactericidal against E. coli, achieving 3-log killing in 4 h at a concentration 4 times above the MIC, as would be predicted for an inhibitor of lipid A biosynthesis. E. coli mutants with decreased susceptibility to BB-78484 were selected. Analysis of these mutants revealed that resistance arose as a consequence of mutations in the fabZ or lpxC genes. These data confirm the antibacterial target of BB-78484 and BB-78485 and validate LpxC as a target for gram-negative selective antibacterials.
PMCID: PMC127247  PMID: 12019092
16.  Residue Ionization in LpxC Directly Observed by 67Zn NMR Spectroscopy 
Journal of the American Chemical Society  2008;130(38):12671-12679.
The pH dependence of the solid-state 67Zn NMR lineshapes has been measured for both wild type (WT) and the H265A mutant of Aquifex aeolicus LpxC, each in the absence of substrate (resting state). The 67Zn NMR spectrum of WT LpxC at pH 6 (prepared at 0 °C) contains two overlapping quadrupole lineshapes with Cq's of 10 and 12.9 MHz, while the spectrum measured for the sample prepared at a pH near 9 (at 0 °C) is dominated by the appearance of a third species with a Cq of 14.3 MHz. These findings are consistent with the two pKa values previously observed by the bell-shaped dependence of the LpxC-catalyzed reaction. Based on comparison of the experimental results with predictions from QM/MM modeling we suggest that pKa1 (low pH) represents the ionization of Glu78 and pKa2 (high pH) reflects the ionization of another active site residue located near the zinc ion, such as His265. These results are also consistent with water being bound to the Zn2+ throughout this pH range. The 67Zn NMR spectra of the H265A mutant appear to be pH independent with a Cq of 9.55 MHz being sufficient to describe both low and high pH data. The QM/MM models of the H265A mutant suggest that over this pH range water is bound to the zinc, while Glu78 is protonated.
PMCID: PMC2652226  PMID: 18761443
17.  Mechanistic characterization of the tetraacyldisaccharide-1-phosphate 4'-kinase LpxK involved in lipid A biosynthesis 
Biochemistry  2013;52(13):2280-2290.
The sixth step in the lipid A biosynthetic pathway involves phosphorylation of the tetraacyldisaccharide-1-phosphate (DSMP) intermediate by the cytosol-facing inner membrane kinase LpxK, a member of the P-loop containing nucleoside triphosphate (NTP) hydrolase superfamily. We report the kinetic characterization of LpxK from Aquifex aeolicus and the crystal structures of LpxK in complex with ATP in a pre-catalytic binding state, the ATP analog AMP-PCP in the closed catalytically competent conformation, and a chloride anion revealing an inhibitory conformation of the nucleotide-binding P-loop. We demonstrate that LpxK activity in vitro requires the presence of a detergent micelle and formation of a ternary LpxK-ATP/Mg2+-DSMP complex. Using steady-state kinetics, we have identified crucial active site residues, leading to the proposal that the interaction of D99 with H261 acts to increase the pKa of the imidazole moiety, which in turn serves as the catalytic base to deprotonate the 4'-hydroxyl of the DSMP substrate. The fact that an analogous mechanism has not yet been observed for other P-loop kinases highlights LpxK as a distinct member of the P-loop kinase family, a notion that is also reflected through its localization at the membrane, lipid substrate, and overall structure.
PMCID: PMC3670694  PMID: 23464738
18.  Cloning, expression, and purification of UDP-3-O-acyl-GlcNAc deacetylase from Pseudomonas aeruginosa: a metalloamidase of the lipid A biosynthesis pathway. 
Journal of Bacteriology  1997;179(6):2029-2037.
The lpxC (envA) gene of Escherichia coli encodes UDP-3-O-acyl-GlcNAc deacetylase, the second and committed step of lipopolysaccharide biosynthesis. Although present in all gram-negative bacteria examined, the deacetylase from E. coli is the only example of this enzyme that has been expressed and purified. In order to examine other variants of this protein, we cloned the Pseudomonas aeruginosa deacetylase structural gene from a lambda library as a 5.1-kb EcoRI fragment. The LpxC reading frame encodes an inferred protein of 33,435 Da that is highly homologous to the E. coli protein and that possesses a nearly identical hydropathy profile. In order to verify function, we subcloned the P. aeruginosa lpxC gene into the T7-based expression vector pET11a. Upon induction at 30 degrees C, this construct yielded active protein to approximately 18% of the soluble fraction. We devised a novel, rapid, and reproducible assay for the deacetylase which facilitated purification of the enzyme in three steps. The purified recombinant protein was found to be highly sensitive to EDTA yet was reactivated by the addition of excess heavy metal, as was the case for crude extracts of P. aeruginosa. In contrast, deacetylase activity in crude extracts of E. coli was insensitive to EDTA, and the extracts of the envA1 mutant were sensitive in a time-dependent manner. The lpxC gene has no significant homology with amidase signature sequences. Therefore, we assign this protein to the metalloamidase family as a member with a novel structure.
PMCID: PMC178929  PMID: 9068651
19.  Control of Lipopolysaccharide Biosynthesis by FtsH-Mediated Proteolysis of LpxC Is Conserved in Enterobacteria but Not in All Gram-Negative Bacteria ▿ †  
Journal of Bacteriology  2010;193(5):1090-1097.
Despite the essential function of lipopolysaccharides (LPS) in Gram-negative bacteria, it is largely unknown how the exact amount of this molecule in the outer membrane is controlled. The first committed step in LPS biosynthesis is catalyzed by the LpxC enzyme. In Escherichia coli, the cellular concentration of LpxC is adjusted by the only essential protease in this organism, the membrane-anchored metalloprotease FtsH. Turnover of E. coli LpxC requires a length- and sequence-specific C-terminal degradation signal. LpxC proteins from Salmonella, Yersinia, and Vibrio species carry similar C-terminal ends and, like the E. coli enzyme, were degraded by FtsH. Although LpxC proteins are highly conserved in Gram-negative bacteria, there are striking differences in their C termini. The Aquifex aeolicus enzyme, which is devoid of the C-terminal extension, was stable in E. coli, whereas LpxC from the alphaproteobacteria Agrobacterium tumefaciens and Rhodobacter capsulatus was degraded by the Lon protease. Proteolysis of the A. tumefaciens protein required the C-terminal end of LpxC. High stability of Pseudomonas aeruginosa LpxC in E. coli and P. aeruginosa suggested that Pseudomonas uses a proteolysis-independent strategy to control its LPS content. The differences in LpxC turnover along with previously reported differences in susceptibility against antimicrobial compounds have important implications for the potential of LpxC as a drug target.
PMCID: PMC3067583  PMID: 21193611
20.  Synthesis, structure and antibiotic activity of aryl-substituted LpxC inhibitors 
Journal of medicinal chemistry  2013;56(17):6954-6966.
The zinc-dependent deacetylase LpxC catalyzes the committed step of lipid A biosynthesis in Gram-negative bacteria and is a validated target for development of novel antibiotics to combat multidrug-resistant Gram-negative infections. Many potent LpxC inhibitors contain an essential threonyl-hydroxamate head group for high-affinity interaction with LpxC. We report the synthesis, antibiotic activity, and structural and enzymatic characterization of novel LpxC inhibitors containing an additional aryl-group in the threonyl-hydroxamate moiety, which expands the inhibitor-binding surface in LpxC. These compounds display enhanced potency against LpxC in enzymatic assays and superior antibiotic activity against F. novicida in cell culture. Comparison of the antibiotic activities of these compounds against a leaky E. coli strain and the wild-type strain reveals the contribution of the formidable outer membrane permeability barrier that reduces the compound efficacy in cell culture and emphasizes the importance of maintaining a balanced hydrophobicity and hydrophilicity profile in developing effective LpxC-targeting antibiotics.
PMCID: PMC3941642  PMID: 23914798
LpxC; antibiotic; lipid A biosynthesis; Gram-negative bacteria
21.  Assignment of 1H, 13C and 15N backbone resonances of Escherichia coli LpxC bound to L-161,240 
Biomolecular NMR assignments  2009;4(1):37-40.
The UDP-3-O-(R-3-hydroxymyristoyl)-N-acetylglucosamine deacetylase LpxC catalyzes the committed reaction of lipid A biosynthesis, an essential pathway in Gram-negative bacteria. We report the backbone resonance assignments of the 34 kDa LpxC from Escherichia coli in complex with the antibiotic L-161,240 using multidimensional, multinuclear NMR experiments. The 1H chemical shifts of complexed L-161,240 are also determined.
PMCID: PMC3631426  PMID: 19941092
Escherichia coli; Antibiotic; Lipid A; Inhibitor; Deacetylase
22.  Species-Specific and Inhibitor-Dependent Conformations of LpxC—Implications for Antibiotic Design 
Chemistry & biology  2010;18(1):38-47.
LpxC is an essential enzyme in the lipid A biosynthetic pathway in Gram-negative bacteria. Several promising antimicrobial lead compounds targeting LpxC have been reported, though they typically display a large variation in potency against different Gram-negative pathogens. We report that inhibitors with a diacetylene scaffold effectively overcome the resistance caused by sequence variation in the LpxC substrate-binding passage. Compound binding is captured in complex with representative LpxC orthologs, and structural analysis reveals large conformational differences that mostly reflect inherent molecular features of distinct LpxC orthologs, whereas ligand-induced structural adaptations occur at a smaller scale. These observations highlight the need for a molecular understanding of inherent structural features and conformational plasticity of LpxC enzymes for optimizing LpxC inhibitors as broad-spectrum antibiotics against Gram-negative infections.
PMCID: PMC3149848  PMID: 21167751
LpxC; Lipid A; Antibiotic; Protein-inhibitor complex
23.  Structural Basis of the Promiscuous Inhibitor Susceptibility of E. coli LpxC 
ACS chemical biology  2013;9(1):237-246.
The LpxC enzyme in the lipid A biosynthetic pathway is one of the most promising and clinically unexploited antibiotic targets for treatment of multidrug-resistant Gram-negative infections. Progress in medicinal chemistry has led to the discovery of potent LpxC inhibitors with a variety of chemical scaffolds and distinct antibiotic profiles. The vast majority of these compounds, including the nanomolar inhibitors L-161,240 and BB-78485, are highly effective in suppressing the activity of E. coli LpxC (EcLpxC), but not divergent orthologs such as P. aeruginosa LpxC (PaLpxC) in vitro. The molecular basis for such promiscuous inhibition of EcLpxC has remained poorly understood. Here, we report the crystal structure of EcLpxC bound to L-161,240, providing the first molecular insight into L-161,240 inhibition. Additionally, structural analysis of the EcLpxC/L-161,240 complex together with the EcLpxC/BB-78485 complex reveals an unexpected backbone flipping of the Insert I βa-βb loop in EcLpxC in comparison with previously reported crystal structures of EcLpxC complexes with L-threonyl-hydroxamate-based broad-spectrum inhibitors. Such a conformational switch, which has only been observed in EcLpxC, but not in divergent orthologs such as PaLpxC, results in expansion of the active site of EcLpxC, enabling it to accommodate LpxC inhibitors with a variety of head groups, including compounds containing single (R- or S- enantiomers) or double substitutions at the neighboring Cα atom of the hydroxamate warhead group. These results highlight the importance of understanding inherent conformational plasticity of target proteins in lead optimization.
PMCID: PMC3947053  PMID: 24117400
LpxC; inhibitor; L-161; 240; antibiotic; hydroxamate; trigonal-bipyramidal geometry
24.  Enzymatic Synthesis of Lipid A Molecules with Four Amide-linked Acyl Chains 
The Journal of biological chemistry  2004;279(24):25411-25419.
LpxA of Escherichia coli catalyzes the acylation of the glucosamine 3-OH group of UDP-GlcNAc, using R-3-hydroxymyristoyl-acyl carrier protein (ACP) as the donor substrate. We now demonstrate that LpxA in cell extracts of Mesorhizobium loti and Leptospira interrogans, which synthesize lipid A molecules containing 2,3-diamino-2,3-dideoxy-D-glucopyranose (GlcN3N) units in place of glucosamine, do not acylate UDP-GlcNAc. Instead, these LpxA acyltransferases require a UDP-GlcNAc derivative (designated UDP 2-acetamido-3-amino-2,3-dideoxy-α-D-glucopyranose or UDP-GlcNAc3N), characterized in the preceding paper (Sweet, C. R., Ribeiro, A. A., and Raetz, C. R. H. (2004) J. Biol. Chem. 279, 25400–25410), in which an amine replaces the glucosamine 3-OH group. L. interrogans LpxA furthermore displays absolute selectivity for 3-hydroxylauroyl-ACP as the donor, whereas M. loti LpxA functions almost equally well with 10-, 12-, and 14-carbon 3-hydroxyacyl-ACPs. The substrate selectivity of L. interrogans LpxA is consistent with the structure of L. interrogans lipid A. The mechanism of L. interrogans LpxA appears to be similar to that of E. coli LpxA, given that the essential His125 residue of E. coli LpxA is conserved and is also required for acyltransferase activity in L. interrogans. Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans (an organism that makes lipid A molecules containing both GlcN and GlcN3N) has an ortholog of LpxA that is selective for UDP-GlcNAc3N, but the enzyme also catalyzes the acylation of UDP-GlcNAc at a slow rate. E. coli LpxA acylates UDP-GlcNAc and UDP-GlcNAc3N at comparable rates in vitro. However, UDP-GlcNAc3N is not synthesized in vivo, because E. coli lacks gnnA and gnnB. When the latter are supplied together with A. ferrooxidans lpxA, E. coli incorporates a significant amount of GlcN3N into its lipid A.
PMCID: PMC2597548  PMID: 15044493
25.  Activity and Crystal Structure of Arabidopsis thaliana UDP-N-acetylglucosamine Acyltransferase 
Biochemistry  2012;51(21):4322-4330.
The UDP-N-acetylglucosamine (UDP-GlcNAc) acyltransferase, encoded by lpxA, catalyzes the first step of lipid A biosynthesis in Gram-negative bacteria, the R-3-hydroxyacyl-ACP dependent acylation of the 3-OH group of UDP-GlcNAc. Recently, we demonstrated that the Arabidopsis thaliana orthologs of six enzymes of the bacterial lipid A pathway produce lipid A precursors with structures similar to Escherichia coli lipid A precursors (Li, C., et al. (2011) Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 108, 11387–11392). To build upon this finding, we have cloned, purified, and determined the crystal structure of the A. thaliana LpxA ortholog (AtLpxA) to 2.1 Å resolution. The overall structure of AtLpxA is very similar to that of E. coli LpxA (EcLpxA) with an alpha helical rich C-terminus and characteristic N-terminal left-handed parallel β-helix (LβH). All key catalytic and chain-length determining residues of EcLpxA are conserved in AtLpxA, however the AtLpxA has an additional coil and loop added to the LβH not seen in EcLpxA. Consistent with the similarities between the two structures, the purified AtLpxA catalyzes the same reaction as EcLpxA. In addition, A. thaliana lpxA complements an E. coli mutant lacking the chromosomal lpxA and promotes the synthesis of lipid A in vivo similar to the lipid A produced in the presence of E. coli lpxA. This work shows that AtLpxA is a functional UDP-GlcNAc acyltransferase able to catalyze the same reaction as EcLpxA, and supports the hypothesis that lipid A molecules are biosynthesized in Arabidopsis and other plants.
PMCID: PMC3383772  PMID: 22545860

Results 1-25 (713493)