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1.  Novel Insights into the Mechanism of Inhibition of MmpL3, a Target of Multiple Pharmacophores in Mycobacterium tuberculosis 
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy  2014;58(11):6413-6423.
MmpL3, a resistance-nodulation-division (RND) superfamily transporter, has been implicated in the formation of the outer membrane of Mycobacterium tuberculosis; specifically, MmpL3 is required for the export of mycolic acids in the form of trehalose monomycolates (TMM) to the periplasmic space or outer membrane of M. tuberculosis. Recently, seven series of inhibitors identified by whole-cell screening against M. tuberculosis, including the antituberculosis drug candidate SQ109, were shown to abolish MmpL3-mediated TMM export. However, this mode of action was brought into question by the broad-spectrum activities of some of these inhibitors against a variety of bacterial and fungal pathogens that do not synthesize mycolic acids. This observation, coupled with the ability of three of these classes of inhibitors to kill nonreplicating M. tuberculosis bacilli, led us to investigate alternative mechanisms of action. Our results indicate that the inhibitory effects of adamantyl ureas, indolecarboxamides, tetrahydropyrazolopyrimidines, and the 1,5-diarylpyrrole BM212 on the transport activity of MmpL3 in actively replicating M. tuberculosis bacilli are, like that of SQ109, most likely due to their ability to dissipate the transmembrane electrochemical proton gradient. In addition to providing novel insights into the modes of action of compounds reported to inhibit MmpL3, our results provide the first explanation for the large number of pharmacophores that apparently target this essential inner membrane transporter.
doi:10.1128/AAC.03229-14
PMCID: PMC4249373  PMID: 25136022
2.  Multi-Target Drug Discovery for Tuberculosis and Other Infectious Diseases 
Journal of medicinal chemistry  2014;57(7):3126-3139.
We report the discovery of a series of new drug leads that have potent activity against Mycobacterium tuberculosis as well as against other bacteria, fungi, and a malaria parasite. The compounds are analogs of the new tuberculosis (TB) drug SQ109 (1) which has been reported to act by inhibiting a transporter called MmpL3, involved in cell wall biosynthesis. We show that 1 and the new compounds also target enzymes involved in menaquinone biosynthesis and electron transport, inhibiting respiration and ATP biosynthesis, and are uncouplers, collapsing the pH gradient and membrane potential used to power transporters. The result of such multi-target inhibition is potent inhibition of TB cell growth, as well as very low rates of spontaneous drug resistance. Several targets are absent in humans but are present in other bacteria, as well as in malaria parasites, whose growth is also inhibited.
doi:10.1021/jm500131s
PMCID: PMC4084622  PMID: 24568559
3.  Expression and characterization of soluble 4-diphosphocytidyl-2-C-methyl-D-erythritol kinase from bacterial pathogens 
Chemistry & biology  2009;16(12):1230-1239.
Summary
Many bacterial pathogens utilize the 2-C-methyl-D-erythritol 4-phosphate pathway for biosynthesizing isoprenoid precursors, a pathway that is vital for bacterial survival and absent from human cells, providing a potential source of drug targets. However, the characterization of 4-diphosphocytidyl-2-C-methyl-D-erythritol (CDP-ME) kinase (IspE) has been hindered due to a lack of enantiopure CDP-ME and difficulty in obtaining pure IspE. Here, enantiopure CDP-ME was chemically synthesized and recombinant IspE from bacterial pathogens were purified and characterized. Although gene disruption was not possible in Mycobacterium tuberculosis, IspE is essential in Mycobacterium smegmatis. The biochemical and kinetic characteristics of IspE provide the basis for development of a high throughput screen and structural characterization.
doi:10.1016/j.chembiol.2009.10.014
PMCID: PMC4020808  PMID: 20064433
4.  Mycobacteriophage Ms6 LysA: a Peptidoglycan Amidase and a Useful Analytical Tool 
Since the peptidoglycan isolated from Mycobacterium spp. is refractory to commercially available murolytic enzymes, possibly due to the presence of various modifications found on this peptidoglycan, the utility of a mycobacteriophage-derived murolytic enzyme was assessed for an analysis of peptidoglycan from mycobacteria. We cloned, expressed, and purified the lysA gene product, a protein with homology to known peptidoglycan-degrading amidases, from bacteriophage Ms6. The recombinant protein was shown to cleave the bond between l-Ala and d-muramic acid of muramyl pentapeptide and to release up to 70% of the diaminopimelic acid present in the isolated mycobacterial cell wall. In contrast to lysozyme, which, in culture, inhibits the growth of both Mycobacterium smegmatis and Mycobacterium tuberculosis, LysA had no effect on the growth of either species. However, the enzyme is useful for solubilizing the peptide chains of isolated mycobacterial peptidoglycan for analysis. The data indicate that the stem peptides from M. smegmatis are heavily amidated, containing few free carboxylic acids, regardless of the cross-linking status.
doi:10.1128/AEM.02263-12
PMCID: PMC3568546  PMID: 23160121
5.  Three-dimensional nanoscale molecular imaging by extreme ultraviolet laser ablation mass spectrometry 
Nature Communications  2015;6:6944.
Analytical probes capable of mapping molecular composition at the nanoscale are of critical importance to materials research, biology and medicine. Mass spectral imaging makes it possible to visualize the spatial organization of multiple molecular components at a sample's surface. However, it is challenging for mass spectral imaging to map molecular composition in three dimensions (3D) with submicron resolution. Here we describe a mass spectral imaging method that exploits the high 3D localization of absorbed extreme ultraviolet laser light and its fundamentally distinct interaction with matter to determine molecular composition from a volume as small as 50 zl in a single laser shot. Molecular imaging with a lateral resolution of 75 nm and a depth resolution of 20 nm is demonstrated. These results open opportunities to visualize chemical composition and chemical changes in 3D at the nanoscale.
Mass spectral analysis is used to map the composition of materials and surfaces in numerous fields. Here, the authors report a mass spectral technique based on extreme ultraviolet laser ablation that allows three-dimensional imaging of chemical composition in addition to giving highly sensitive nanoscale resolution.
doi:10.1038/ncomms7944
PMCID: PMC4423227  PMID: 25903827
6.  Multitarget Drug Discovery for Tuberculosis and Other Infectious Diseases 
Journal of Medicinal Chemistry  2014;57(7):3126-3139.
We report the discovery of a series of new drug leads that have potent activity against Mycobacterium tuberculosis as well as against other bacteria, fungi, and a malaria parasite. The compounds are analogues of the new tuberculosis (TB) drug SQ109 (1), which has been reported to act by inhibiting a transporter called MmpL3, involved in cell wall biosynthesis. We show that 1 and the new compounds also target enzymes involved in menaquinone biosynthesis and electron transport, inhibiting respiration and ATP biosynthesis, and are uncouplers, collapsing the pH gradient and membrane potential used to power transporters. The result of such multitarget inhibition is potent inhibition of TB cell growth, as well as very low rates of spontaneous drug resistance. Several targets are absent in humans but are present in other bacteria, as well as in malaria parasites, whose growth is also inhibited.
doi:10.1021/jm500131s
PMCID: PMC4084622  PMID: 24568559
7.  Structure and Inhibition of Tuberculosinol Synthase and Decaprenyl Diphosphate Synthase from Mycobacterium tuberculosis 
We have obtained the structure of the bacterial diterpene synthase, tuberculosinol/iso-tuberculosinol synthase (Rv3378c) from Mycobacterium tuberculosis, a target for anti-infective therapies that block virulence factor formation. This phosphatase adopts the same fold as found in the Z- or cis-prenyltransferases. We also obtained structures containing the tuberculosinyl diphosphate substrate together with one bisphosphonate inhibitor-bound structure. These structures together with the results of site-directed mutagenesis suggest an unusual mechanism of action involving two Tyr residues. Given the similarity in local and global structure between Rv3378c and the M. tuberculosis cis-decaprenyl diphosphate synthase (DPPS; Rv2361c), the possibility exists for the development of inhibitors that target not only virulence but also cell wall biosynthesis, based in part on the structures reported here.
doi:10.1021/ja413127v
PMCID: PMC3986019  PMID: 24475925
9.  A Phosphorylated Pseudokinase Complex Controls Cell Wall Synthesis in Mycobacteria 
Science signaling  2012;5(208):ra7.
Prokaryotic cell wall biosynthesis is coordinated with cell growth and division, but the mechanisms regulating this dynamic process remain obscure. Here, we describe a phosphorylation-dependent regulatory complex that controls peptidoglycan (PG) biosynthesis in Mycobacterium tuberculosis. We found that PknB, a PG-responsive Ser-Thr protein kinase (STPK), initiates complex assembly by phosphorylating a kinase-like domain in the essential PG biosynthetic protein, MviN. This domain was structurally diverged from active kinases and did not mediate phosphotransfer. Threonine phosphorylation of the pseudokinase domain recruited the FhaA protein through its forkhead-associated (FHA) domain. The crystal structure of this phosphorylated pseudokinase–FHA domain complex revealed the basis of FHA domain recognition, which included unexpected contacts distal to the phosphorylated threonine. Conditional degradation of these proteins in mycobacteria demonstrated that MviN was essential for growth and PG biosynthesis and that FhaA regulated these processes at the cell poles and septum. Controlling this spatially localized PG regulatory complex is only one of several cellular roles ascribed to PknB, suggesting that the capacity to coordinate signaling across multiple processes is an important feature conserved between eukaryotic and prokaryotic STPK networks.
doi:10.1126/scisignal.2002525
PMCID: PMC3664666  PMID: 22275220
10.  Discovery of Selective Menaquinone Biosynthesis Inhibitors against Mycobacterium tuberculosis 
Journal of Medicinal Chemistry  2012;55(8):3739-3755.
Aurachin RE (1) is a strong antibiotic that was recently found to possess MenA (1,4-dihydroxy-2-naphthoate prenyltransferase) and bacterial electron transport inhibitory activities. Aurachin RE is the only molecule in a series of aurachin natural products that has the chiral center in the alkyl side chain at C9′-position. To identify selective MenA inhibitors against Mycobacterium tuberculosis, a series of chiral molecules were designed based on the structures of previously identified MenA inhibitors and 1. The synthesized molecules were evaluated in in vitro assays including MenA enzyme and bacterial growth inhibitory assays. We could identify novel MenA inhibitors that showed significant increase in potency of killing non-replicating M. tuberculosis in the low oxygen recovery assay (LORA) without inhibiting other Gram-positive bacterial growth even at high concentrations. The MenA inhibitors reported here are useful new pharmacophores for the development of selective antimycobacterial agents with strong activity against non-replicating M. tuberculosis.
doi:10.1021/jm201608g
PMCID: PMC3375340  PMID: 22449052
New antimycobacterial agent; Menaquinone biosynthesis inhibitor; MDR Mycobacterium tuberculosis; Non-replicating Mycobacterium tuberculosis; TB drugs; quinolone alkaloid; aurachin RE
11.  Inhibition of 1-Deoxy-D-Xylulose-5-Phosphate Reductoisomerase by Lipophilic Phosphonates: SAR, QSAR and Crystallographic Studies 
Journal of medicinal chemistry  2011;54(13):4721-4734.
1-Deoxy-D-xylulose-5-phosphate reductoisomerase (DXR) is a novel target for developing new antibacterial (including anti-tuberculosis) and antimalaria drugs. 41 lipophilic phosphonates, representing a new class of DXR inhibitors, were synthesized, among which 5-phenylpyridin-2-ylmethylphosphonic acid possesses the most activity against E. coli DXR (EcDXR) with a Ki of 420 nM. Structure activity relationships (SAR) are discussed, which can be rationalized using our EcDXR:inhibitor structures, and a predictive quantitative SAR (QSAR) model is also developed. Since inhibition studies of DXR from Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MtDXR) have not been well performed, 48 EcDXR inhibitors with a broad chemical diversity were found, however, to generally exhibit considerably reduced activity against MtDXR. The crystal structure of a MtDXR:inhibitor complex reveals the flexible loop containing the residues 198–208 has no strong interactions with the 3,4-dichlorophenyl group of the inhibitor, representing a structural basis for the reduced activity. Overall, these results provide implications in the future design and development of potent DXR inhibitors.
doi:10.1021/jm200363d
PMCID: PMC3601441  PMID: 21561155
12.  Lipoarabinomannan Localization and Abundance during Growth of Mycobacterium smegmatis ▿ †  
Journal of Bacteriology  2011;193(20):5802-5809.
Lipoarabinomannan (LAM) is a structurally heterogeneous amphipathic lipoglycan present in Mycobacterium spp. and other actinomycetes, which constitutes a major component of the cell wall and exhibits a wide spectrum of immunomodulatory effects. Analysis of Mycobacterium smegmatis subcellular fractions and spheroplasts showed that LAM and lipomannan (LM) were primarily found in a cell wall-enriched subcellular fraction and correlated with the presence (or absence) of the mycolic acids in spheroplast preparations, suggesting that LAM and LM are primarily associated with the putative outer membrane of mycobacteria. During the course of these studies significant changes in the LAM/LM content of the cell wall were noted relative to the age of the culture. The LAM content of the M. smegmatis cell wall was dramatically reduced as the bacilli approached stationary phase, whereas LM, mycolic acid, and arabinogalactan content appeared to be unchanged. In addition, cell morphology and acid-fast staining characteristics showed variations with growth phase of the bacteria. In the logarithmic phase, the bacteria were found to be classic rod-shaped acid-fast bacilli, while in the stationary phase M. smegmatis lost the characteristic rod shape and developed a punctate acid-fast staining pattern with carbolfuchsin. The number of viable bacteria was independent of LAM content and phenotype. Taken together, the results presented here suggest that LAM is primarily localized with the mycolic acids in the cell wall and that the cellular concentration of LAM in M. smegmatis is selectively modulated with the growth phase.
doi:10.1128/JB.05299-11
PMCID: PMC3187192  PMID: 21840972
13.  Reconstitution of Functional Mycobacterial Arabinosyltransferase AftC Proteoliposome and Assessment of Decaprenylphosphorylarabinose Analogues as Arabinofuranosyl Donors 
ACS chemical biology  2011;6(8):819-828.
Arabinosyltransferases are a family of membrane-bound glycosyltransferases involved in the biosynthesis of the arabinan segment of two key glycoconjugates, arabinogalactan and lipoarabinomannan, in the mycobacterial cell wall. All arabinosyl-transferases identified have been found to be essential for the growth of Mycobcterium tuberculosis and are potential targets for developing new antituberculosis drugs. Technical bottlenecks in designing enzyme assays for screening for inhibitors of these enzymes are (1) the enzymes are membrane proteins and refractory to isolation; and (2) the sole arabinose donor, decaprenylphosphoryl-d-arabinofuranose is sparingly produced and difficult to isolate, and commercial substrates are not available. In this study, we have synthesized several analogues of decaprenylphosphoryl-d-arabinofuranose by varying the chain length and investigated their arabinofuranose (Araf) donating capacity. In parallel, an essential arabinosyltransferase (AftC), an enzyme that introduces α-(1→3) branch points in the internal arabinan domain in both arabinogalactan and lipoarabinomannan synthesis, has been expressed, solubilized, and purified for the first time. More importantly, it has been shown that the AftC is active only when reconstituted in a proteoliposome using mycobacterial phospholipids and has a preference for diacylated phosphatidylinositoldimannoside (Ac2PIM2), a major cell wall associated glycolipid. α-(1→3) branched arabinans were generated when AftC–liposome complex was used in assays with the (Z,Z)-farnesylphosphoryl d-arabinose linear α-d-Araf-(1→5)3–5 oligosaccharide acceptors and not with the acceptor that had a α-(1→3) branch point preintroduced.
doi:10.1021/cb200091m
PMCID: PMC3158817  PMID: 21595486
14.  DosS Responds to a Reduced Electron Transport System To Induce the Mycobacterium tuberculosis DosR Regulon▿  
Journal of Bacteriology  2010;192(24):6447-6455.
The DosR regulon in Mycobacterium tuberculosis is involved in respiration-limiting conditions, its induction is controlled by two histidine kinases, DosS and DosT, and recent experimental evidence indicates DosS senses either molecular oxygen or a redox change. Under aerobic conditions, induction of the DosR regulon by DosS, but not DosT, was observed after the addition of ascorbate, a powerful cytochrome c reductant, demonstrating that DosS responds to a redox signal even in the presence of high oxygen tension. During hypoxic conditions, regulon induction was attenuated by treatment with compounds that occluded electron flow into the menaquinone pool or decreased the size of the menaquinone pool itself. Increased regulon expression during hypoxia was observed when exogenous menaquinone was added, demonstrating that the menaquinone pool is a limiting factor in regulon induction. Taken together, these data demonstrate that a reduced menaquinone pool directly or indirectly triggers induction of the DosR regulon via DosS. Biochemical analysis of menaquinones upon entry into hypoxic/anaerobic conditions demonstrated the disappearance of the unsaturated species and low-level maintenance of the mono-saturated menaquinone. Relative to the unsaturated form, an analog of the saturated form is better able to induce signaling via DosS and rescue inhibition of menaquinone synthesis and is less toxic. The menaquinone pool is central to the electron transport system (ETS) and therefore provides a mechanistic link between the respiratory state of the bacilli and DosS signaling. Although this report demonstrates that DosS responds to a reduced ETS, it does not rule out a role for oxygen in silencing signaling.
doi:10.1128/JB.00978-10
PMCID: PMC3008535  PMID: 20952575
15.  Synthesis of 4-diphosphocytidyl-2-C-methyl-D-erythritol 2-phosphate and kinetic studies of Mycobacterium tuberculosis IspF, a potential drug target 
Chemistry & biology  2010;17(2):117-122.
SUMMARY
Many pathogenic bacteria utilize the 2-C-methyl-D-erythritol 4-phosphate (MEP) pathway for the biosynthesis of isopentenyl diphosphate and dimethylallyl diphosphate, two major building blocks of isoprenoid compounds. The fifth enzyme in the MEP pathway, 2-C-methyl-D-erythritol 2,4-cyclodiphosphate (ME-CPP) synthase (IspF), catalyzes the conversion of 4-diphosphocytidyl-2-C-methyl-D-erythritol 2-phosphate (CDP-ME2P) to ME-CPP with a corresponding release of cytidine 5-monophosphate (CMP). Since there is no ortholog of IspF in human cells IspF is of interest as a potential drug target. However, study of IspF has been hindered by a lack of enantiopure CDP-ME2P. Herein, we report the first synthesis of enantiomerically pure CDP-ME2P from commercially available D-arabinose. Cloned, expressed, and purified M. tuberculosis IspF was able to utilize the synthetic CDP-ME2P as a substrate, a result confirmed by mass spectrometry. A convenient, sensitive, in vitro IspF assay was developed by coupling the CMP released during production of ME-CPP to mononucleotide kinase, which can be used for high throughput screening.
doi:10.1016/j.chembiol.2010.01.013
PMCID: PMC2837070  PMID: 20189102
16.  Regulation of Polar Peptidoglycan Biosynthesis by Wag31 Phosphorylation in Mycobacteria 
BMC Microbiology  2010;10:327.
Background
Sensing and responding to environmental changes is a central aspect of cell division regulation. Mycobacterium tuberculosis contains eleven Ser/Thr kinases, two of which, PknA and PknB, are key signaling molecules that regulate cell division/morphology. One substrate of these kinases is Wag31, and we previously showed that partial depletion of Wag31 caused morphological changes indicative of cell wall defects, and that the phosphorylation state of Wag31 affected cell growth in mycobacteria. In the present study, we further characterized the role of the Wag31 phosphorylation in polar peptidoglycan biosynthesis.
Results
We demonstrate that the differential growth among cells expressing different wag31 alleles (wild-type, phosphoablative, or phosphomimetic) is caused by, at least in part, dissimilar nascent peptidoglycan biosynthesis. The phosphorylation state of Wag31 is found to be important for protein-protein interactions between the Wag31 molecules, and thus, for its polar localization. Consistent with these results, cells expressing a phosphomimetic wag31 allele have a higher enzymatic activity in the peptidoglycan biosynthetic pathway.
Conclusions
The Wag31Mtb phosphorylation is a novel molecular mechanism by which Wag31Mtb regulates peptidoglycan synthesis and thus, optimal growth in mycobacteria.
doi:10.1186/1471-2180-10-327
PMCID: PMC3019181  PMID: 21190553
17.  The Nonmevalonate Pathway of Isoprenoid Biosynthesis in Mycobacterium tuberculosis Is Essential and Transcriptionally Regulated by Dxs ▿ †  
Journal of Bacteriology  2010;192(9):2424-2433.
Mycobacterium tuberculosis synthesizes isoprenoids via the nonmevalonate or DOXP pathway. Previous work demonstrated that three enzymes in the pathway (Dxr, IspD, and IspF) are all required for growth in vitro. We demonstrate the essentiality of the key genes dxs1 and gcpE, confirming that the pathway is of central importance and that the second homolog of the synthase (dxs2) cannot compensate for the loss of dxs1. We looked at the effect of overexpression of Dxr, Dxs1, Dxs2, and GcpE on viability and on growth in M. tuberculosis. Overexpression of dxs1 or dxs2 was inhibitory to growth, whereas overexpression of dxr or gcpE was not. Toxicity is likely to be, at least partially, due to depletion of pyruvate from the cells. Overexpression of dxs1 or gcpE resulted in increased flux through the pathway, as measured by accumulation of the metabolite 4-hydroxy-3-methyl-but-2-enyl pyrophosphate. We identified the functional translational start site and promoter region for dxr and demonstrated that it is expressed as part of a polycistronic mRNA with gcpE and two other genes. Increased expression of this operon was seen in cells overexpressing Dxs1, indicating that transcriptional control is effected by the first enzyme of the pathway via an unknown regulator.
doi:10.1128/JB.01402-09
PMCID: PMC2863480  PMID: 20172995
18.  Multiple M. tuberculosis Phenotypes in Mouse and Guinea Pig Lung Tissue Revealed by a Dual-Staining Approach 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(6):e11108.
A unique hallmark of tuberculosis is the granulomatous lesions formed in the lung. Granulomas can be heterogeneous in nature and can develop a necrotic, hypoxic core which is surrounded by an acellular, fibrotic rim. Studying bacilli in this in vivo microenvironment is problematic as Mycobacterium tuberculosis can change its phenotype and also become acid-fast negative. Under in vitro models of differing environments, M. tuberculosis alters its metabolism, transcriptional profile and rate of replication. In this study, we investigated whether these phenotypic adaptations of M. tuberculosis are unique for certain environmental conditions and if they could therefore be used as differential markers. Bacilli were studied using fluorescent acid-fast auramine-rhodamine targeting the mycolic acid containing cell wall, and immunofluorescence targeting bacterial proteins using an anti-M. tuberculosis whole cell lysate polyclonal antibody. These techniques were combined and simultaneously applied to M. tuberculosis in vitro culture samples and to lung sections of M. tuberculosis infected mice and guinea pigs. Two phenotypically different subpopulations of M. tuberculosis were found in stationary culture whilst three subpopulations were found in hypoxic culture and in lung sections. Bacilli were either exclusively acid-fast positive, exclusively immunofluorescent positive or acid-fast and immunofluorescent positive. These results suggest that M. tuberculosis exists as multiple populations in most conditions, even within seemingly a single microenvironment. This is relevant information for approaches that study bacillary characteristics in pooled samples (using lipidomics and proteomics) as well as in M. tuberculosis drug development.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0011108
PMCID: PMC2885421  PMID: 20559431
19.  Chemoenzymatic synthesis of 4-diphosphocytidyl-2-C-methyl-D-erythritol: A substrate for IspE 
Tetrahedron letters  2008;49(29-30):4461-4463.
Enantiomerically pure 2-C-methyl-D-erythritol 4-phosphate 1 (MEP) is synthesized from 1,2-O-isopropylidene-α-D-xylofuranose via facile benzylation in good yield. Subsequently, 1 is used for enzymatic synthesis of 4-diphosphocytidyl-2-C-methyl-D-erythritol 2 (CDP-ME) using 4-diphosphocytidyl-2-C-methyl-D-erythritol synthase (IspD). The chemoenzymatically synthesized 2 can be used as substrate for assay of IspE and for high throughput screening to identify IspE inhibitors.
doi:10.1016/j.tetlet.2008.05.074
PMCID: PMC2832204  PMID: 19088853
20.  The Mycobacterium tuberculosis MEP (2C-methyl-D-erythritol 4-phosphate) pathway as a new drug target 
Tuberculosis (TB) is still a major public health problem, compounded by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-TB co-infection and recent emergence of multidrug-resistant (MDR) and extensive drug resistant (XDR)-TB. Novel anti-TB drugs are urgently required. In this context, the 2C-methyl-D-erythritol 4-phosphate (MEP) pathway of Mycobacterium tuberculosis has drawn attention; it is one of several pathways vital for M. tuberculosis viability and the human host lacks homologous enzymes. Thus, the MEP pathway promises bacterium-specific drug targets and the potential for identification of lead compounds unencumbered by target-based toxicity. Indeed, fosmidomycin is now known to inhibit the second step in the MEP pathway. This review describes the cardinal features of the main enzymes of the MEP pathway in M. tuberculosis and how these can be manipulated in high throughput screening campaigns in the search for new anti-infectives against TB.
doi:10.1016/j.tube.2008.07.004
PMCID: PMC2646905  PMID: 18793870
Tuberculosis; 2C-methyl-D-erythritol 4-phosphate pathway; high throughput screening campaigns; anti-infectives
21.  The structural basis of chain length control in Rv1086 
Journal of molecular biology  2008;381(1):129-140.
In Mycobacterium tuberculosis two related Z-prenyl diphosphate synthases, E,Z-farnesyl diphosphate synthase (Rv1086) and decaprenyl diphosphate synthase (Rv2361c) work in series to synthesize decaprenyl phosphate (C50) from isopentenyl diphosphate and E-geranyl diphosphate. Decaprenyl phosphate plays a central role in the biosynthesis of essential mycobacterial cell wall components, such as the mycolyl-arabinogalactan-peptidoglycan complex and lipoarabinomannan; thus, its synthesis has attracted considerable interest as a potential therapeutic target. Rv1086 is a unique prenyl diphosphate synthase in that it adds only one isoprene unit to geranyl diphosphate generating the 15 carbon product (E,Z-farnesyl diphosphate). Rv2361c then adds a further 7 isoprene units to E,Z-farnesyl diphosphate in a processive manner to generate the 50 carbon prenyl diphosphate, which is then dephosphorylated to generate a carrier for activated sugars. The molecular basis for chain length discrimination by Rv1086 during synthesis is unknown. We also report the structure of apo Rv1086 with citronellyl diphosphate bound and with the product mimic E,E-farnesyl diphosphate bound. We report the structures of Rv2361c in the apo form, with isopentyl diphosphate bound and with a substrate analogue, citronellyl diphosphate. The structures confirm the enzymes are very closely related. Detailed comparison reveals structural differences that account for chain length control in Rv1086. We have tested this hypothesis and have identified a double mutant of Rv1086 which makes a range of longer lipid chains.
doi:10.1016/j.jmb.2008.05.060
PMCID: PMC2527485  PMID: 18597781
Drug design; enzyme mechanism; tuberculosis; x-ray crystallography; inhibitors
22.  ENANTIOMERIC SYNTHESIS OF 2-C-METHYL-D-ERYTHRITOL 2, 4-CYCLODIPHOSPHATE 
Heterocycles  2008;76(1):243-247.
Enantiomerically pure 2-C-methyl-D-erythritol 2,4-cyclodiphosphate 1 (ME-CPP) is synthesized from 1,2-O-isopropylidene-α-D-xylofuranose with facile phosphorylation in good yield. Subsequently, the synthesized enantiomerically pure 1 can be used as a substrate in IspG assays to identify inhibitors that may be developed into antibacterial drug leads.
PMCID: PMC2658599  PMID: 19305514
23.  Transfer of the First Arabinofuranose Residue to Galactan Is Essential for Mycobacterium smegmatis Viability▿  
Journal of Bacteriology  2008;190(15):5248-5255.
The mycobacterial arabinan is an elaborate component of the cell wall with multiple glycosyl linkages and no repeating units. In Mycobacterium spp., the Emb proteins (EmbA, EmbB, and EmbC) have been identified as putative mycobacterial arabinosyltransferases implicated in the biogenesis of the cell wall arabinan. Furthermore, it is now evident that the EmbA and EmbB proteins are involved in the assembly of the nonreducing terminal motif of arabinogalactan and EmbC is involved in transferring arabinose, perhaps in the early stage of arabinan synthesis in lipoarabinomannan. It has also been shown that the Emb proteins are a target of the antimycobacterial drug ethambutol (EMB). In the search for additional mycobacterial arabinosyltransferases in addition to the Emb proteins, we disrupted MSMEG_6386 (an orthologue of Rv3792 and a gene upstream of embC) in Mycobacterium smegmatis. Allelic exchange at the chromosomal MSMEG_6386 locus of M. smegmatis could only be achieved in the presence of a rescue plasmid carrying a functional copy of MSMEG_6386 or Rv3792, strongly suggesting that MSMEG_6386 is essential. An in vitro arabinosyltransferase assay using a membrane preparation from M. smegmatis expressing Rv3792 and synthetic β-d-Galf-(1→5)-β-d-Galf-(1→6)-β-d-Galf-octyl and β-d-Galf-(1→6)-β-d-Galf-(1→5)-β-d-Galf-octyl showed that Rv3792 gene product can transfer an arabinose residue to the C-5 position of the internal 6-linked galactose. The reactions were insensitive to EMB, and when α-d-Manp-(1→6)-α-d-Manp-(1→6)-α-d-Manp-octylthiomethyl was used as an acceptor, no product was formed. These observations indicate that transfer of the first arabinofuranose residue to galactan is essential for M. smegmatis viability.
doi:10.1128/JB.00028-08
PMCID: PMC2493245  PMID: 18556798
24.  Discovery of 1,4-Didydroxy-2-naphthoate Prenyltransferase Inhibitors 
Journal of medicinal chemistry  2007;50(17):3973-3975.
Since utilization of menaquinone in the electron transport system is a characteristic of Gram-positive organisms, the 1,4-dihydroxy-2-naphthoate prenyltransferase (MenA) inhibitors 1a and 2a act as selective antibacterial agents against organisms such as methicillin-resistant Stapylococcus aureus (MRSA), Staphylococcus epidermidis (MRSE), and Mycobacterium spp. Growth of drug-resistant Gram-positive organisms was sensitive to the MenA inhibitors, indicating that menaquinone synthesis is a valid new drug target in Gram-positive organisms.
doi:10.1021/jm070638m
PMCID: PMC2591091  PMID: 17658779
25.  Polymer-supported (2,6-Dichloro-4-alkoxyphenyl)(2,4-dichlorophenyl)methanol: A New Linker for Solid-Phase Organic Synthesis 
Organic letters  2007;9(6):1141-1144.
An acid and base stable hydroxytetrachlorodiphenylmethyl (HTPM) linker is developed for polymer-supported organic synthesis. The linkers reported here are utilized for loading carboxylic acids, amines, alcohols, and phenols, and are stable to Brønsted and Lewis acids, Brønsted bases and a wide variety of nucleophiles. However, the HTPM linkers can conveniently be cleaved by the solvolytic displacement reactions with 20% TFA.
doi:10.1021/ol070150f
PMCID: PMC2577291  PMID: 17311394

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