Thiabendazole, classified as antiparasitic and also used as an antifungal drug, can be found as otological solution indicated for treatment of parasitic and fungal external otitis in small animals. Malassezia pachydermatis is a yeast recognized as a normal inhabitant on the skin and mucous membranes of dogs and cats. However, it is considered an opportunistic agent that causes external otitis and dermatitis in these animals. The aim of this study was to evaluate the in vitro effect of thiabendazole against 51 isolates of M. pachydermatis using the CLSI Broth Microdilution method that has been adapted for this yeast species (NCCLS, 2002). Based on this test, the Minimum Inhibitory Concentrations (MIC) of thiabendazol was calculated. Subsequently, the susceptibility of each isolate against this antifungal was determined. It was observed that the MIC of thiabendazole against M. pachydermatis ranged from 0.03 to > 4 µg/mL. A total of 13.7% of the isolates were found to be resistant, 47.1% were intermediate and 39.2% were sensitive to the drug. The rate of resistance of the yeasts against thiabendazole was similar to the results previously obtained with other antifungals, while the adapted broth microdilution technique used in this study proved to be efficient.
Malassezia pachydermatis; Minimum Inhibitory Concentration; thiabendazole
Recent evolutionary studies reveal that microorganisms including yeasts and fungi are more closely related to mammals than was previously appreciated. Possibly as a consequence, many natural-product toxins that have antimicrobial activity are also toxic to mammalian cells. While this makes it difficult to discover antifungal agents without toxic side effects, it also has enabled detailed studies of drug action in simple genetic model systems. We review here studies on the antifungal actions of antineoplasmic agents. Topics covered include the mechanisms of action of inhibitors of topoisomerases I and II; the immunosuppressants rapamycin, cyclosporin A, and FK506; the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase inhibitor wortmannin; the angiogenesis inhibitors fumagillin and ovalicin; the HSP90 inhibitor geldanamycin; and agents that inhibit sphingolipid metabolism. In general, these natural products inhibit target proteins conserved from microorganisms to humans. These studies highlight the potential of microorganisms as screening tools to elucidate the mechanisms of action of novel pharmacological agents with unique effects against specific mammalian cell types, including neoplastic cells. In addition, this analysis suggests that antineoplastic agents and derivatives might find novel indications in the treatment of fungal infections, for which few agents are presently available, toxicity remains a serious concern, and drug resistance is emerging.
A recent large outbreak of fungal infections by Exserohilum rostratum from contaminated compounding solutions has highlighted the need to rapidly screen available pharmaceuticals that could be useful in therapy. The present study utilized two newly-developed high throughput assays to screen approved drugs and pharmaceutically active compounds for identification of potential antifungal agents. Several known drugs were found that have potent effects against E. rostratum including the triazole antifungal posaconazole. Posaconazole is likely to be effective against infections involving septic joints and may provide an alternative for refractory central nervous system infections. The anti-E. rostratum activities of several other drugs including bithionol (an anti-parasitic drug), tacrolimus (an immunosuppressive agent) and floxuridine (an antimetabolite) were also identified from the drug repurposing screens. In addition, activities of other potential antifungal agents against E. rostratum were excluded, which may avoid unnecessary therapeutic trials and reveals the limited therapeutic alternatives for this outbreak. In summary, this study has demonstrated that drug repurposing screens can be quickly conducted within a useful time-frame. This would allow clinical implementation of identified alternative therapeutics and should be considered as part of the initial public health response to new outbreaks or rapidly-emerging microbial pathogens.
New, more accessible therapies for cryptococcosis represent an unmet clinical need of global importance. We took a repurposing approach to identify previously developed drugs with fungicidal activity toward Cryptococcus neoformans, using a high-throughput screening assay designed to detect drugs that directly kill fungi. From a set of 1,120 off-patent medications and bioactive molecules, we identified 31 drugs/molecules with fungicidal activity, including 15 drugs for which direct antifungal activity had not previously been reported. A significant portion of the drugs are orally bioavailable and cross the blood-brain barrier, features key to the development of a widely applicable anticryptococcal agent. Structural analysis of this set revealed a common chemotype consisting of a hydrophobic moiety linked to a basic amine, features that are common to drugs that cross the blood-brain barrier and access the phagolysosome, two important niches of C. neoformans. Consistent with their fungicidal activity, the set contains eight drugs that are either additive or synergistic in combination with fluconazole. Importantly, we identified two drugs, amiodarone and thioridazine, with activity against intraphagocytic C. neoformans. Finally, the set of drugs is also enriched for molecules that inhibit calmodulin, and we have confirmed that seven drugs directly bind C. neoformans calmodulin, providing a molecular target that may contribute to the mechanism of antifungal activity. Taken together, these studies provide a foundation for the optimization of the antifungal properties of a set of pharmacologically attractive scaffolds for the development of novel anticryptococcal therapies.
The microtubule, which is one of the major targets of anthelmintics, anticancer drugs, and fungicides, is composed mainly of α- and β-tubulins. We focused on a unique characteristic of an Aspergillus nidulans benA33 mutant to screen for microtubule-disrupting antifungal agents. This mutant, which has a β-tubulin with a mutation of a single amino acid, undergoes mitotic arrest due to the formation of hyperstable microtubules at 37°C. The heat sensitivity of the mutant is remedied by some antimicrotubule agents. We found that an agar plate assay with the mutant was able to distinguish three types of microtubule inhibitors. The growth recovery zones of the mutant were formed around paper disks containing microtubule inhibitors, including four benzimidazoles, ansamitocin P-3, griseofulvin, and rhizoxin, on the agar plate at 37°C. Nocodazole, thiabendazole, and griseofulvin reversed the mitotic arrest of the mutant and promoted its hyphal growth. Ansamitocin P-3 and rhizoxin showed growth recovery zones around the growth-inhibitory zones. Benomyl and carbendazim also reversed mitotic arrest but produced weaker growth recovery than the aforementioned drugs. Other microtubule inhibitors, such as colchicine, Colcemid, paclitaxel, podophyllotoxin, TN-16, vinblastine, and vincristine, as well as some cytoskeletal inhibitors tested, did not show such activity. In our screening, we newly identified two mycotoxins, citrinin and patulin, two sesquiterpene dialdehydes, polygodial and warburganal, and four phenylalanine derivatives, arphamenine A, l-2,5-dihydrophenylalanine (DHPA), N-tosyl-l-phenylalanine chloromethylketone, and N-carbobenzoxy-l-phenylalanine chloromethyl ketone. In a wild-type strain of A. nidulans, DHPA caused selective losses of microtubules, as determined by fluorescence microscopy, and of both α- and β-tubulins, as determined by Western blot analysis. This screening method involving the benA33 mutant of A. nidulans is useful, convenient, and highly selective. The phenylalanine derivatives tested are of a novel type of microtubule-disrupting antifungal agents, producing an accompanying loss of tubulins, and are different from well-known tubulin inhibitors affecting the assembly of tubulin dimers into microtubules.
The fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe has two alpha-tubulin genes and one beta-tubulin gene. Gene disruption experiments showed that the alpha 1-tubulin gene (NDA2) is essential whereas the alpha 2 gene is dispensable. The alpha 2-disrupted cells missing alpha 2 transcript and alpha 2 polypeptide could grow and sporulate normally. The alpha 2 gene, however, was expressed in the wild type and the alpha 1 mutant. Alpha 2-Tubulin was distinguished as an electrophoretic band and was assembled into microtubules. The alpha 2-disrupted cells had an increased sensitivity to an antimicrotubule drug thiabendazole, and the alpha 1(cold-sensitive [cs]) alpha 2 (disrupted) cells became not only cs but also temperature sensitive. Northern blot experiments indicated that alpha 2 transcription was minor and constitutive whereas alpha 1 transcription was major and modulated, depending on the gene copy number of the alpha 2 gene. The amounts of alpha 1 and alpha 2 polypeptides estimated by beta-galactosidase activities of the lacZ-fused genes integrated on the chromosome and by intensities of the electrophoretic bands in crude tubulin fractions, however, were comparable, indicating that alpha 2 tubulin is not a minor subtype. We assume that the cells of Schizosaccharomyces pombe have no excess tubulin pool. alpha 1 mutants would then be blocked in the cell cycle because only half the amount of functional alpha-tubulin required for growth can be produced by the alpha 2 gene. On the other hand, the alpha 2-disrupted cells became viable because the synthesis of alpha 1 tubulin was increased by transcriptional or translational modulation or both. The real cause for essential alpha 1 and dispensable alpha 2 genes seems to be in their regulatory sequences instead of the coding sequences.
Light-driven protein translocation is responsible for the dramatic redistribution of some proteins in vertebrate rod photoreceptors. In this study, the involvement of microtubules and microfilaments in the light-driven translocation of arrestin and transducin was investigated.
Pharmacologic reagents were applied to native and transgenic Xenopus tadpoles, to disrupt the microtubules (thiabendazole) and microfilaments (cytochalasin D and latrunculin B) of the rod photoreceptors. Quantitative confocal imaging was used to assess the impact of these treatments on arrestin and transducin translocation. A series of transgenic tadpoles expressing arrestin truncations were also created to identify portions of arrestin that enable arrestin to translocate.
Application of cytochalasin D or latrunculin B to disrupt the microfilament organization selectively slowed only transducin movement from the inner to the outer segments. Perturbation of the microtubule cytoskeleton with thiabendazole slowed the translocation of both arrestin and transducin, but only in moving from the outer to the inner segments. Transgenic Xenopus expressing fusions of green fluorescent protein (GFP) with portions of arrestin implicates the C terminus of arrestin as an important portion of the molecule for promoting translocation. This C-terminal region can be used independently to promote translocation of GFP in response to light.
The results show that disruption of the cytoskeletal network in rod photoreceptors has specific effects on the translocation of arrestin and transducin. These effects suggest that the light-driven translocation of visual proteins at least partially relies on an active motor-driven mechanism for complete movement of arrestin and transducin.
Disruption of cellular antioxidation systems should be an effective method for control of fungal pathogens. Such disruption can be achieved with redox-active compounds. Natural phenolic compounds can serve as potent redox cyclers that inhibit microbial growth through destabilization of cellular redox homeostasis and/or antioxidation systems. The aim of this study was to identify benzaldehydes that disrupt the fungal antioxidation system. These compounds could then function as chemosensitizing agents in concert with conventional drugs or fungicides to improve antifungal efficacy.
Benzaldehydes were tested as natural antifungal agents against strains of Aspergillus fumigatus, A. flavus, A. terreus and Penicillium expansum, fungi that are causative agents of human invasive aspergillosis and/or are mycotoxigenic. The yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae was also used as a model system for identifying gene targets of benzaldehydes. The efficacy of screened compounds as effective chemosensitizers or as antifungal agents in formulations was tested with methods outlined by the Clinical Laboratory Standards Institute (CLSI).
Several benzaldehydes are identified having potent antifungal activity. Structure-activity analysis reveals that antifungal activity increases by the presence of an ortho-hydroxyl group in the aromatic ring. Use of deletion mutants in the oxidative stress-response pathway of S. cerevisiae (sod1Δ, sod2Δ, glr1Δ) and two mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) mutants of A. fumigatus (sakAΔ, mpkCΔ), indicates antifungal activity of the benzaldehydes is through disruption of cellular antioxidation. Certain benzaldehydes, in combination with phenylpyrroles, overcome tolerance of A. fumigatus MAPK mutants to this agent and/or increase sensitivity of fungal pathogens to mitochondrial respiration inhibitory agents. Synergistic chemosensitization greatly lowers minimum inhibitory (MIC) or fungicidal (MFC) concentrations. Effective inhibition of fungal growth can also be achieved using combinations of these benzaldehydes.
Natural benzaldehydes targeting cellular antioxidation components of fungi, such as superoxide dismutases, glutathione reductase, etc., effectively inhibit fungal growth. They possess antifungal or chemosensitizing capacity to enhance efficacy of conventional antifungal agents. Chemosensitization can reduce costs, abate resistance, and alleviate negative side effects associated with current antifungal treatments.
Antibiotic-resistant infections caused by gram-negative bacteria are a major healthcare concern. Repurposing drugs circumvents the time and money limitations associated with developing new antimicrobial agents needed to combat these antibiotic-resistant infections. Here we identified the off-patent antifungal agent, ciclopirox, as a candidate to repurpose for antibiotic use. To test the efficacy of ciclopirox against antibiotic-resistant pathogens, we used a curated collection of Acinetobacter baumannii, Escherichia coli, and Klebsiella pneumoniae clinical isolates that are representative of known antibiotic resistance phenotypes. We found that ciclopirox, at 5–15 µg/ml concentrations, inhibited bacterial growth regardless of the antibiotic resistance status. At these same concentrations, ciclopirox reduced growth of Pseudomonas aeruginosa clinical isolates, but some of these pathogens required higher ciclopirox concentrations to completely block growth. To determine how ciclopirox inhibits bacterial growth, we performed an overexpression screen in E. coli. This screen revealed that galE, which encodes UDP-glucose 4-epimerase, rescued bacterial growth at otherwise restrictive ciclopirox concentrations. We found that ciclopirox does not inhibit epimerization of UDP-galactose by purified E. coli GalE; however, ΔgalU, ΔgalE, ΔrfaI, or ΔrfaB mutant strains all have lower ciclopirox minimum inhibitory concentrations than the parent strain. The galU, galE, rfaI, and rfaB genes all encode enzymes that use UDP-galactose or UDP-glucose for galactose metabolism and lipopolysaccharide (LPS) biosynthesis. Indeed, we found that ciclopirox altered LPS composition of an E. coli clinical isolate. Taken together, our data demonstrate that ciclopirox affects galactose metabolism and LPS biosynthesis, two pathways important for bacterial growth and virulence. The lack of any reported fungal resistance to ciclopirox in over twenty years of use in the clinic, its excellent safety profiles, novel target(s), and efficacy, make ciclopirox a promising potential antimicrobial agent to use against multidrug-resistant problematic gram-negative pathogens.
The attempts to develop new treatments for acute ischemic stroke have been fraught with costly and spectacularly disappointing failures. Repurposing of safe, older drugs provides a lower risk alternative. Vascular protection is a novel strategy for improving stroke outcome. Promising targets for vascular protection after stroke have been identified, and several of these targets can be approached with “repurposed” old drugs, including statins, angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs), and minocycline.
We tested the vascular protection (ability to reduce hemorrhagic transformation) of three marketed drugs (candesartan, minocycline, and atorvastatin) in the experimental stroke model using three different rat strains [Wistar, spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR) and type 2 diabetic Goto-Kakizaki (GK) rats]. All agents decreased the infarct size, improved the neurological outcome and decreased bleeding. Mechanisms identified include inhibition of MMP-9, activation of Akt, and increased expression of proangiogenic growth factors. Premorbid vascular damage (presence of either diabetes or hypertension) increased the likelihood of vascular injury after ischemia and reperfusion and improved the response to vascular protection.
Stroke; Drug repurposing; Hemorrhagic transformation
Comparative transcriptomics of Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Candida glabrata revealed a remarkable conservation of response to drug-induced stress, despite underlying differences in the regulatory networks.
Recent technical and methodological advances have placed microbial models at the forefront of evolutionary and environmental genomics. To better understand the logic of genetic network evolution, we combined comparative transcriptomics, a differential clustering algorithm and promoter analyses in a study of the evolution of transcriptional networks responding to an antifungal agent in two yeast species: the free-living model organism Saccharomyces cerevisiae and the human pathogen Candida glabrata.
We found that although the gene expression patterns characterizing the response to drugs were remarkably conserved between the two species, part of the underlying regulatory networks differed. In particular, the roles of the oxidative stress response transcription factors ScYap1p (in S. cerevisiae) and Cgap1p (in C. glabrata) had diverged. The sets of genes whose benomyl response depends on these factors are significantly different. Also, the DNA motifs targeted by ScYap1p and Cgap1p are differently represented in the promoters of these genes, suggesting that the DNA binding properties of the two proteins are slightly different. Experimental assays of ScYap1p and Cgap1p activities in vivo were in accordance with this last observation.
Based on these results and recently published data, we suggest that the robustness of environmental stress responses among related species contrasts with the rapid evolution of regulatory sequences, and depends on both the coevolution of transcription factor binding properties and the versatility of regulatory associations within transcriptional networks.
Microbes evolved to produce natural products that inhibit growth of competing soil microorganisms. In many cases, these compounds act on fungi, which are eukaryotes closely related to metazoans, including humans. The calcineurin inhibitors CsA and FK506, the Tor inhibitor rapamycin, and the Hsp90 inhibitor geldanamycin all act via targets conserved from yeast to humans. This allows use of genetically tractable fungi as models to elucidate how these drugs and their targets function in yeast and human cells. They also enable studies to harness their intrinsic antimicrobial activities to develop novel antifungal therapies. Extensive studies have revealed a globally conserved role for Tor in regulating growth and proliferation in response to nutrients, and targeting its essential functions results in robust antifungal action. Similarly, a conserved and essential role for calcineurin in fungal virulence has been discovered that could be targeted by inhibitors in therapeutic use in a variety of clinical settings. Finally, the discovery that inhibitors of calcineurin or Hsp90 result in dramatic synergism with either azoles or glucan synthase inhibitors (candins) provides another therapeutic vantage point. Taken together, these fungal targets and their inhibitors provide a robust platform from which to develop novel antimicrobial therapies.
Tor; Calcineurin; Hsp90; Rapamycin; FK506; Cyclosporin A; Geldanamycin
The activities of a series of camptothecin and nitidine derivatives that might interact with topoisomerase I were compared against yeast and cancer cell lines. Our findings reveal that structural modifications to camptothecin derivatives have profound effects on the topoisomerase I-drug poison complex in cells. Although the water-soluble anticancer agents topotecan and irinotecan are less active than the original structure, camptothecin, other derivatives or analogs with substitutions that increase compound solubility have also increased antifungal activities. In fact, a water-soluble prodrug appears to penetrate into the cell and release its active form; the resulting effect in complex with Cryptococcus neoformans topoisomerase I is a fungicidal response and also potent antitumor activity. Some of the compounds that are not toxic to wild-type yeast cells are extremely toxic to the yeast cells when the C. neoformans topoisomerase I target is overexpressed. With the known antifungal mechanism of a camptothecin-topoisomerase I complex as a cellular poison, these findings indicate that drug entry may be extremely important for antifungal activity. Nitidine chloride exhibits antifungal activity against yeast cells through a mechanism(s) other than topoisomerase I and appears to be less active than camptothecin analogs against tumor cells. Finally, some camptothecin analogs exhibit synergistic antifungal activity against yeast cells in combination with amphotericin B in vitro. Our results suggest that camptothecin and/or nitidine derivatives can exhibit potent antifungal activity and that the activities of camptothecin derivatives with existing antifungal drugs may be synergistic against pathogenic fungi. These new compounds, which exhibit potent antitumor activities, will likely require further structural changes to find more selective activity against fungal versus mammalian cells to hold promise as a new class of antifungal agents.
To investigate the role of microtubules in regulating cell polarity in Schizosaccharomyces pombe, we have developed a system in which normally cylindrical fission yeast synchronously form branched cells at high frequency upon treatment with the microtubule-depolymerizing drug thiabendazole (TBZ). Branching depends on both elevated temperature and cell cycle state and occurs at high frequency only when TBZ is added to cells that have not yet passed through New-End Take-Off (NETO), the normal transition from monopolar to bipolar growth. This suggests that microtubules may be of greatest physiological importance for the maintenance of cell shape at specific points in the cell cycle. The localization of three different proteins normally found at cell ends—cortical F-actin, tea1, and an ral3 (scd2)–green fluorescent protein (GFP) fusion—is disrupted by TBZ treatment. However, these proteins can eventually return to cell ends in the absence of microtubules, indicating that although their localization to ends normally depends on microtubules, they may recover by alternative mechanisms. In addition, TBZ induces a shift in ral3–GFP distribution from cell ends to the cell middle, suggesting that a protein complex containing ral3 may be part of the cue that specifies the position of branch formation.
S. pombe; microtubules; thiabendazole; actin; cell polarity
Pot1 is a single-stranded telomere-binding protein that is conserved from fission yeast to mammals. Deletion of Schizosaccharomyces pombe pot1+ causes immediate telomere loss. S. pombe Rqh1 is a homolog of the human RecQ helicase WRN, which plays essential roles in the maintenance of genomic stability. Here, we demonstrate that a pot1Δ rqh1-hd (helicase-dead) double mutant maintains telomeres that are dependent on Rad51-mediated homologous recombination. Interestingly, the pot1Δ rqh1-hd double mutant displays a “cut” (cell untimely torn) phenotype and is sensitive to the antimicrotubule drug thiabendazole (TBZ). Moreover, the chromosome ends of the double mutant do not enter the pulsed-field electrophoresis gel. These results suggest that the entangled chromosome ends in the pot1Δ rqh1-hd double mutant inhibit chromosome segregation, signifying that Pot1 and Rqh1 are required for efficient chromosome segregation. We also found that POT1 knockdown, WRN-deficient human cells are sensitive to the antimicrotubule drug vinblastine, implying that some of the functions of S. pombe Pot1 and Rqh1 may be conserved in their respective human counterparts POT1 and WRN.
Although protein kinases have recently emerged as important drug targets, the anti-infective potential of protein kinase inhibitors has not been developed extensively. We identified the mammalian PDK1 inhibitor KP-372-1 as a potent antifungal molecule with activity against yeast and fungal biofilms using a screening strategy for protein kinase inhibitors that block the cell wall stress response in yeast. Genetic and biochemical studies indicate that KP-372-1 inhibits fungal PDK1 orthologs (Pkh kinases) as part of its mode of action and support a role for Pkh kinases in eisosome assembly. Two other structurally distinct molecules that inhibit PDK1, OSU-03012 and UCN-01, also have antifungal activity. Taken together, these data indicate that fungal PDK1 orthologs are promising targets for new antifungal drug development.
Recent increases in fungal infections, the few available antifungal drugs, and increasing fungal resistance to the available antifungal drugs have resulted in a broadening of the search for new antifungal agents. Strains of Pseudomonas syringae pv. syringae produce cyclic lipodepsinonapeptides with antifungal activity. The in vitro antifungal and fungicidal activities of three cyclic lipodepsinonapeptides (syringomycin E, syringotoxin B, and syringostatin A) against medically important isolates were evaluated by a standard broth microdilution susceptibility method. Erythrocyte toxicities were also evaluated. All three compounds showed broad antifungal activities and fungicidal actions against most of the fungi tested. Overall, the cyclic lipodepsinonapeptides were more effective against yeasts than against the filamentous fungi. Syringomycin E and syringostatin A had very similar antifungal activities (2.5 to > 40 micrograms/ml) and erythrocyte toxicities. Syringotoxin B was generally less active (0.8 to 200 micrograms/ml) than syringomycin E and syringostatin A against most fungi and was less toxic to erythrocytes. With opportunities for modification, these compounds are potential lead compounds for improved antifungal agents.
A screen for antifungal compounds from Lysobacter enzymogenes strain C3, a bacterial biological control agent of fungal diseases, has previously led to the isolation of heat-stable antifungal factor (HSAF). HSAF exhibits inhibitory activities against a wide range of fungal species and shows a novel mode of antifungal action by disrupting the biosynthesis of a distinct group of sphingolipids. We have now determined the chemical structure of HSAF, which is identical to that of dihydromaltophilin, an antifungal metabolite with a unique macrocyclic lactam system containing a tetramic acid moiety and a 5,5,6-tricyclic skeleton. We have also identified the genetic locus responsible for the biosynthesis of HSAF in strain C3. DNA sequencing of this locus revealed genes for a hybrid polyketide synthase-nonribosomal peptide synthetase (PKS-NRPS), a sterol desaturase, a ferredoxin reductase, and an arginase. The disruption of the PKS-NRPS gene generated C3 mutants that lost the ability to produce HSAF and to inhibit fungal growth, demonstrating a hybrid PKS-NRPS that catalyzed the biosynthesis of the unique macrolactam system that is found in many biologically active natural products isolated from marine organisms. In addition, we have generated mutants with disrupted sterol desaturase, ferredoxin reductase, and arginase and examined the metabolites produced in these mutants. The work represents the first study of the genetic basis for the biosynthesis of the tetramic acid-containing macrolactams. The elucidation of the chemical structure of HSAF and the identification of the genetic locus for its biosynthesis establish the foundation for future exploitation of this group of compounds as new fungicides or antifungal drugs.
Neuropilin 1 (NRP1) is a transmembrane glycoprotein that is essential for blood vessel development in vertebrates. Best known for its ability to bind members of the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and class 3 semaphorin families through its extracellular domain, it also has a highly conserved cytoplasmic domain, which terminates in a SEA motif that binds the PDZ protein synectin/GIPC1/NIP. Previous studies in zebrafish embryos and tissue culture models raised the possibility that the SEA motif of NRP1 is essential for angiogenesis. Here, we describe the generation of mice that express a form of NRP1 that lacks the cytoplasmic domain and, therefore, the SEA motif (Nrp1cytoΔ/Δ mice). Our analysis of pre- and perinatal vascular development revealed that vasculogenesis and angiogenesis proceed normally in these mutants, demonstrating that the membrane-anchored extracellular domain is sufficient for vessel growth. By contrast, the NRP1 cytoplasmic domain is required for normal arteriovenous patterning, because arteries and veins crossed each other at an abnormally high frequency in the Nrp1cytoΔ/Δ retina, as previously reported for mice with haploinsufficient expression of VEGF in neural progenitors. At crossing sites, the artery was positioned anteriorly to the vein, and both vessels were embedded in a shared collagen sleeve. In human eyes, similar arteriovenous crossings are risk factors for branch retinal vein occlusion (BRVO), an eye disease in which compression of the vein by the artery disrupts retinal blood flow, causing local tissue hypoxia and impairing vision. Nrp1cytoΔ/Δ mice may therefore provide a suitable genetic model to study the aetiology of BRVO.
Neuropilin; Angiogenesis; Artery; Vein; VEGF
In this study the mitochondrion is regarded as a target to reveal compounds that may be used to combat various diseases. Consequently, the sexual structures of yeasts (with high mitochondrial activity) were identified as sensors to screen for various anti-mitochondrial drugs that may be toxic to humans and that are directed, amongst others, against fungal diseases and cancer. Strikingly, these sensors indicated that chloroquine is a potent pro-mitochondrial drug which stimulated yeast sexual reproduction. In addition, these sensors also showed that some Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), anti-malarial drugs, antifungal and anticancer drugs are anti-mitochondrial. These yeast sensor bio-assays may fast track studies aimed at discovering new drugs as well as their mechanisms and should now be further evaluated for selectivity towards anti-/ pro-mitochondrials, fertility drugs and contraceptives, using in vitro, in vivo, in silico and omics research.
anticancer; anti-malarial; anti-mitochondrial; chloroquine; Lipomyces; NanoSAM; preservation; pro-mitochondrial; sensors; yeasts
Drug resistance poses a significant challenge in antifungal therapy since resistance has been found for all known classes of antifungal drugs. The discovery of compounds that can act synergistically with antifungal drugs is an important strategy to overcome resistance. For such combination therapies to be effective, it is critical to understand the molecular basis for the synergism by examining the cellular effects exerted by the combined drugs. Genomic profiling technologies developed in the model yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae have been successfully used to investigate antifungal combinations. This review discusses how these technologies have been used not only to identify synergistic mechanisms but also to predict drug synergies. It also discusses how genome-wide genetic interaction studies have been combined with drug–target information to differentiate between antifungal drug synergies that are target-specific versus those that are non-specific. The investigation of the mechanism of action of antifungal synergies will undoubtedly advance the development of optimal and safe combination therapies for the treatment of drug-resistant fungal infections.
drug synergy mechanism; chemogenomic profiling; genetic interaction
Protein domains are evolutionarily conserved building blocks for protein structure and function, which are conventionally identified based on protein sequence or structure similarity. Small molecule binding domains are of great importance for the recognition of small molecules in biological systems and drug development. Many small molecules, including drugs, have been increasingly identified to bind to multiple targets, leading to promiscuous interactions with protein domains. Thus, a large scale characterization of the protein domains and their associations with respect to small-molecule binding is of particular interest to system biology research, drug target identification, as well as drug repurposing.
We compiled a collection of 13,822 physical interactions of small molecules and protein domains derived from the Protein Data Bank (PDB) structures. Based on the chemical similarity of these small molecules, we characterized pairwise associations of the protein domains and further investigated their global associations from a network point of view.
We found that protein domains, despite lack of similarity in sequence and structure, were comprehensively associated through binding the same or similar small-molecule ligands. Moreover, we identified modules in the domain network that consisted of closely related protein domains by sharing similar biochemical mechanisms, being involved in relevant biological pathways, or being regulated by the same cognate cofactors.
A novel protein domain relationship was identified in the context of small-molecule binding, which is complementary to those identified by traditional sequence-based or structure-based approaches. The protein domain network constructed in the present study provides a novel perspective for chemogenomic study and network pharmacology, as well as target identification for drug repurposing.
Protein domain; drug repurposing; domain network; promiscuous drug; drug target identification
Angiopoietin-2 (Ang2) is a member of the Ang family, which plays an important role in angiogenesis during the development and growth of human cancers. Ang2’s role in angiogenesis generally is considered as an antagonist for Ang1, inhibiting Ang1-promoted Tie2 signaling, which is critical for blood vessel maturation and stabilization. Ang2 modulates angiogenesis in a cooperative manner with another important angiogenic factor, vascular endothelial growth factor A. Genetic studies have revealed that Ang2 also is critical in lymphangiogenesis during development. However, new evidence suggests more complicated roles for Ang2 in angiogenesis in physiologic processes and invasive phenotypes of cancer cells during progression of human cancers. This article discusses recent studies of Ang2 in angiogenesis and the implication of Ang2 as a therapeutic target as well as a potential inhibitor for antiangiogenesis treatment for cancer patients.
Evidence for an increased prevalence of candidaemia and for high associated mortality in the 1990s led to a number of different recommendations concerning the management of at risk patients as well as an increase in the availability and prescription of new antifungal agents. The aim of this study was to parallel in our hospital candidemia incidence with the nature of prescribed antifungal drugs between 1993 and 2003.
During this 10-year period we reviewed all cases of candidemia, and collected all the data about annual consumption of prescribed antifungal drugs
Our centralised clinical mycology laboratory isolates and identifies all yeasts grown from blood cultures obtained from a 3300 bed teaching hospital. Between 1993 and 2003, 430 blood yeast isolates were identified. Examination of the trends in isolation revealed a clear decrease in number of yeast isolates recovered between 1995–2000, whereas the number of positive blood cultures in 2003 rose to 1993 levels. The relative prevalence of Candida albicans and C. glabrata was similar in 1993 and 2003 in contrast to the period 1995–2000 where an increased prevalence of C. glabrata was observed. When these quantitative and qualitative data were compared to the amount and type of antifungal agents prescribed during the same period (annual mean defined daily dose: 2662741; annual mean cost: 615629 €) a single correlation was found between the decrease in number of yeast isolates, the increased prevalence of C. glabrata and the high level of prescription of fluconazole at prophylactic doses between 1995–2000.
Between 1993 and 2000, the number of cases of candidemia halved, with an increase of C. glabrata prevalence. These findings were probably linked to the use of Fluconazole prophylaxis. Although it is not possible to make any recommendations from this data the information is nevertheless interesting and may have considerable implications with the introduction of new antifungal drugs.
Rapamycin is a macrolide antifungal agent that exhibits potent immunosuppressive properties. In Saccharomyces cerevisiae, rapamycin sensitivity is mediated by a specific cytoplasmic receptor which is a homolog of human FKBP12 (hFKBP12). Deletion of the gene for yeast FKBP12 (RBP1) results in recessive drug resistance, and expression of hFKBP12 restores rapamycin sensitivity. These data support the idea that FKBP12 and rapamycin form a toxic complex that corrupts the function of other cellular proteins. To identify such proteins, we isolated dominant rapamycin-resistant mutants both in wild-type haploid and diploid cells and in haploid rbp1::URA3 cells engineered to express hFKBP12. Genetic analysis indicated that the dominant mutations are nonallelic to mutations in RBP1 and define two genes, designated DRR1 and DRR2 (for dominant rapamycin resistance). Mutant copies of DRR1 and DRR2 were cloned from genomic YCp50 libraries by their ability to confer drug resistance in wild-type cells. DNA sequence analysis of a mutant drr1 allele revealed a long open reading frame predicting a novel 2470-amino-acid protein with several motifs suggesting an involvement in intracellular signal transduction, including a leucine zipper near the N terminus, two putative DNA-binding sequences, and a domain that exhibits significant sequence similarity to the 110-kDa catalytic subunit of both yeast (VPS34) and bovine phosphatidylinositol 3-kinases. Genomic disruption of DRR1 in a mutant haploid strain restored drug sensitivity and demonstrated that the gene encodes a nonessential function. DNA sequence comparison of seven independent drr1dom alleles identified single base pair substitutions in the same codon within the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase domain, resulting in a change of Ser-1972 to Arg or Asn. We conclude either that DRR1 (alone or in combination with DRR2) acts as a target of FKBP12-rapamycin complexes or that a missense mutation in DRR1 allows it to compensate for the function of the normal drug target.