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1.  Identification of a Polyprenylphosphomannosyl Synthase Involved in the Synthesis of Mycobacterial Mannosides▿ † 
Journal of Bacteriology  2009;191(21):6769-6772.
We report on the identification of a glycosyltransferase (GT) from Mycobacterium tuberculosis H37Rv, Rv3779, of the membranous GT-C superfamily responsible for the direct synthesis of polyprenyl-phospho-mannopyranose and thus indirectly for lipoarabinomannan, lipomannan, and the higher-order phosphatidyl-myo-inositol mannosides.
PMCID: PMC2795309  PMID: 19717608
2.  Rapid Microbiologic and Pharmacologic Evaluation of Experimental Compounds against Mycobacterium tuberculosis 
The assessment of physiochemical and pharmacological properties at early stages of drug discovery can accelerate the conversion of hits and leads into candidates for further development. A strategy for streamlined evaluation of compounds against Mycobacterium tuberculosis in the early preclinical stage is presented in this report. As a primary assay to rapidly select experimental compounds with sufficient in vitro activity, the growth inhibition microtiter plate assay was devised as an alternative to current methods. This microdilution plate assay is a liquid culture method based on spectrophotometric readings of the bacillary growth. The performance of this method was compared to the performance of two established susceptibility methods using clinical available tuberculosis (TB) drugs. Data generated from all three assays were similar for all of the tested compounds. A second simple bioassay was devised to assess the oral bioavailability of compounds prior to extensive in vivo efficacy testing. The bioassay estimates drug concentrations in collected serum samples by a microdilution MIC plate method using M. tuberculosis. In the same assay, the MIC of the compound is also determined in the presence of 10% mouse serum as an indication of protein binding. The method was validated using different clinically available TB drugs, and results are discussed in this report. With these methodological advances, screening of compounds against tuberculosis in the preclinical phase will be rapid, can be adapted to semi-high-throughput screening, and will add relevant physicochemical and basic pharmacological criteria to the decision process of drug discovery.
PMCID: PMC1426968  PMID: 16569835
3.  1-Deoxy-d-Xylulose 5-Phosphate Reductoisomerase (IspC) from Mycobacterium tuberculosis: towards Understanding Mycobacterial Resistance to Fosmidomycin 
Journal of Bacteriology  2005;187(24):8395-8402.
1-Deoxy-d-xylulose 5-phosphate reductoisomerase (IspC) catalyzes the first committed step in the mevalonate-independent isopentenyl diphosphate biosynthetic pathway and is a potential drug target in some pathogenic bacteria. The antibiotic fosmidomycin has been shown to inhibit IspC in a number of organisms and is active against most gram-negative bacteria but not gram positives, including Mycobacterium tuberculosis, even though the mevalonate-independent pathway is the sole isopentenyl diphosphate biosynthetic pathway in this organism. Therefore, the enzymatic properties of recombinant IspC from M. tuberculosis were characterized. Rv2870c from M. tuberculosis converts 1-deoxy-d-xylulose 5-phosphate to 2-C-methyl-d-erythritol 4-phosphate in the presence of NADPH. The enzymatic activity is dependent on the presence of Mg2+ ions and exhibits optimal activity between pH 7.5 and 7.9; the Km for 1-deoxyxylulose 5-phosphate was calculated to be 47.1 μM, and the Km for NADPH was 29.7 μM. The specificity constant of Rv2780c in the forward direction is 1.5 × 106 M−1 min−1, and the reaction is inhibited by fosmidomycin, with a 50% inhibitory concentration of 310 nM. In addition, Rv2870c complements an inactivated chromosomal copy of IspC in Salmonella enterica, and the complemented strain is sensitive to fosmidomycin. Thus, M. tuberculosis resistance to fosmidomycin is not due to intrinsic properties of Rv2870c, and the enzyme appears to be a valid drug target in this pathogen.
PMCID: PMC1316992  PMID: 16321944
4.  N Glycolylation of the Nucleotide Precursors of Peptidoglycan Biosynthesis of Mycobacterium spp. Is Altered by Drug Treatment 
Journal of Bacteriology  2005;187(7):2341-2347.
The peptidoglycan of Mycobacterium spp. reportedly has some unique features, including the occurrence of N-glycolylmuramic rather than N-acetylmuramic acid. However, very little is known of the actual biosynthesis of mycobacterial peptidoglycan, including the extent and origin of N glycolylation. In the present work, we have isolated and analyzed muramic acid residues located in peptidoglycan and UDP-linked precursors of peptidoglycan from Mycobacterium tuberculosis and Mycobacterium smegmatis. The muramic acid residues isolated from the mature peptidoglycan of both species were shown to be a mixture of the N-acetyl and N-glycolyl derivatives, not solely the N-glycolylated product as generally reported. The isolated UDP-linked N-acylmuramyl-pentapeptide precursor molecules also contain a mixture of N-acetyl and N-glycolyl muramyl residues in apparent contrast to previous observations in which the precursors isolated after treatment with d-cycloserine consisted entirely of N-glycolyl muropeptides. However, nucleotide-linked peptidoglycan precursors isolated from M. tuberculosis treated with d-cycloserine contained only N-glycolylmuramyl-tripeptide precursors, whereas those from similarly treated M. smegmatis consisted of a mixture of N-glycolylated and N-acetylated residues. The full pentapeptide intermediate, isolated following vancomycin treatment of M. smegmatis, consisted of the N-glycolyl derivative only, whereas the corresponding M. tuberculosis intermediate was a mixture of both the N-glycolyl and N-acetyl products. Thus, treatment with vancomycin and d-cylcoserine not only caused an accumulation of nucleotide-linked intermediate compounds but also altered their glycolylation status, possibly by altering the normal equilibrium maintained by de novo biosynthesis and peptidoglycan recycling.
PMCID: PMC1065221  PMID: 15774877

Results 1-4 (4)