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1.  Towards a new combination therapy for tuberculosis with next generation benzothiazinones 
EMBO Molecular Medicine  2014;6(3):372-383.
The benzothiazinone lead compound, BTZ043, kills Mycobacterium tuberculosis by inhibiting the essential flavo-enzyme DprE1, decaprenylphosphoryl-beta-D-ribose 2-epimerase. Here, we synthesized a new series of piperazine-containing benzothiazinones (PBTZ) and show that, like BTZ043, the preclinical candidate PBTZ169 binds covalently to DprE1. The crystal structure of the DprE1-PBTZ169 complex reveals formation of a semimercaptal adduct with Cys387 in the active site and explains the irreversible inactivation of the enzyme. Compared to BTZ043, PBTZ169 has improved potency, safety and efficacy in zebrafish and mouse models of tuberculosis (TB). When combined with other TB drugs, PBTZ169 showed additive activity against M. tuberculosis in vitro except with bedaquiline (BDQ) where synergy was observed. A new regimen comprising PBTZ169, BDQ and pyrazinamide was found to be more efficacious than the standard three drug treatment in a murine model of chronic disease. PBTZ169 is thus an attractive drug candidate to treat TB in humans.
Subject Categories Microbiology, Virology & Host Pathogen Interaction; Pharmacology & Drug Discovery
PMCID: PMC3958311  PMID: 24500695
benzothiazinones; combination regimens; DprE1; tuberculosis
2.  Low-dose angiostatic tyrosine kinase inhibitors improve photodynamic therapy for cancer: lack of vascular normalization 
Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is an effective clinical treatment for a number of different cancers. PDT can induce hypoxia and inflammation, pro-angiogenic side effects, which may counteract its angio-occlusive mechanism. The combination of PDT with anti-angiogenic drugs offers a possibility for improved anti-tumour outcome. We used two tumour models to test the effects of the clinically approved angiostatic tyrosine kinase inhibitors sunitinib, sorafenib and axitinib in combination with PDT, and compared these results with the effects of bevacizumab, the anti-VEGF antibody, for the improvement of PDT. Best results were obtained from the combination of PDT and low-dose axitinib or sorafenib. Molecular analysis by PCR revealed that PDT in combination with axitinib suppressed VEGFR-2 expression in tumour vasculature. Treatment with bevacizumab, although effective as monotherapy, did not improve PDT outcome. In order to test for tumour vessel normalization effects, axitinib was also applied prior to PDT. The absence of improved PDT outcome in these experiments, as well as the lack of increased oxygenation in axitinib-treated tumours, suggests that vascular normalization did not occur. The current data imply that there is a future for certain anti-angiogenic agents to further improve the efficacy of photodynamic anti-cancer therapy.
PMCID: PMC3955154  PMID: 24450440
angiogenesis inhibitors; axitinib, bevacizumab; combination therapy; endothelial cells; photodynamic therapy; sorafenib; sunitinib; synergy; tyrosine kinase inhibitors
3.  Proteins as Possible Targets for Cytotoxic trans-Platinum(II) Complexes with Aliphatic Amine Ligands: Further Exceptions to the DNA Paradigm 
ChemMedChem  2010;5(8):1335-1343.
The reactivity of three cytotoxic trans-PtII complexes bearing aliphatic amine ligands, with transferrin and single-stranded oligonucleotides as DNA models, was investigated by ESI-MS and the results obtained are discussed in comparison with cisplatin. Tandem MS studies provided additional information on the preferential Pt binding sites. To determine whether trans-PtII complexes can migrate from a peptide to an oligonucleotide, transfer experiments were also performed using ESI-MS, and competitive binding of the trans-PtII complexes toward a model peptide and different oligonucleotides was also investigated. Significant differences in the reactivity of the trans complexes with respect to cisplatin were observed. In general, adduct formation with the selected peptide is favored for the trans compounds, whereas cisplatin shows a preference for oligonucleotides, especially if adjacent G–G residues are present. The results are discussed in relation to the possible mechanism of action of the trans-PtII complexes.
PMCID: PMC3920175  PMID: 20564276
cancer; mass spectrometry; oligonucleotides; peptides; platinum
4.  Genome Sequence of Streptomyces violaceusniger Strain SPC6, a Halotolerant Streptomycete That Exhibits Rapid Growth and Development 
Genome Announcements  2013;1(4):e00494-13.
Streptomyces violaceusniger strain SPC6 is a halotolerant streptomycete isolated from the Linze desert in China. The strain has a very high growth rate and a short life cycle for a streptomycete. For surface-grown cultures, the period from spore germination to formation of colonies with mature spore chains is only 2 days at 37°C. Additionally, the strain is remarkably resistant to osmotic, heat, and UV stress compared with other streptomycetes. Analysis of the draft genome sequence indicates that the strain has the smallest reported genome (6.4 Mb) of any streptomycete. The availability of this genome sequence allows us to investigate the genetic basis of adaptation for growth in an extremely arid environment.
PMCID: PMC3715669  PMID: 23868127
5.  Draft Genome Sequence of Rhodococcus rhodnii Strain LMG5362, a Symbiont of Rhodnius prolixus (Hemiptera, Reduviidae, Triatominae), the Principle Vector of Trypanosoma cruzi 
Genome Announcements  2013;1(3):e00329-13.
We report the 4,385,577-bp high-quality draft assembly of the bacterial symbiont Rhodococcus rhodnii strain LMG5362, isolated from the gut of Rhodnius prolixus (Hemiptera, Reduviidae, Triatominae), the principle vector of the protozoan Trypanosoma cruzi, the etiological agent of Chagas disease. This sequence might provide useful information for subsequent studies of the symbiotic relationship between Rd. prolixus and Rc. rhodnii, while also providing a starting point for the development of biotechnological applications for the control of Rd. prolixus.
PMCID: PMC3707589  PMID: 23788540
6.  Structural basis for benzothiazinone-mediated killing of Mycobacterium tuberculosis 
Science translational medicine  2012;4(150):150ra121.
BTZ043, a tuberculosis drug candidate with nanomolar whole-cell activity, targets the DprE1 enzyme of the essential decaprenylphosphoryl-β-D-ribofuranose-2′-epimerase thus blocking biosynthesis of arabinans, vital cell-wall components of mycobacteria. Crystal structures of DprE1, in its native form and in complex with BTZ043, unambiguously reveal formation of a semimercaptal adduct between the drug and an active-site cysteine, as well as contacts to a neighbouring catalytic lysine residue. Kinetic studies confirm BTZ043 as a mechanism-based, covalent inhibitor. This explains the exquisite potency of BTZ043, which, when fluorescently labelled, localizes DprE1 at the poles of growing bacteria. Menaquinone can reoxidize the FAD cofactor in DprE1 and may be the natural electron acceptor for this reaction in the cell. Our structural and kinetic analysis provides both insight into a critical epimerization reaction and a platform for structure-based design of improved inhibitors. Surprisingly, given the colossal tuberculosis burden globally, BTZ043 is the only new drug candidate to have been co-crystallized with its target.
PMCID: PMC3659392  PMID: 22956199
7.  The Evolution of an Osmotically Inducible dps in the Genus Streptomyces 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(4):e60772.
Dps proteins are found almost ubiquitously in bacterial genomes and there is now an appreciation of their multifaceted roles in various stress responses. Previous studies have shown that this family of proteins assemble into dodecamers and their quaternary structure is entirely critical to their function. Moreover, the numbers of dps genes per bacterial genome is variable; even amongst closely related species - however, for many genera this enigma is yet to be satisfactorily explained. We reconstruct the most probable evolutionary history of Dps in Streptomyces genomes. Typically, these bacteria encode for more than one Dps protein. We offer the explanation that variation in the number of dps per genome among closely related Streptomyces can be explained by gene duplication or lateral acquisition, and the former preceded a subsequent shift in expression patterns for one of the resultant paralogs. We show that the genome of S. coelicolor encodes for three Dps proteins including a tailless Dps. Our in vivo observations show that the tailless protein, unlike the other two Dps in S. coelicolor, does not readily oligomerise. Phylogenetic and bioinformatic analyses combined with expression studies indicate that in several Streptomyces species at least one Dps is significantly over-expressed during osmotic shock, but the identity of the ortholog varies. In silico analysis of dps promoter regions coupled with gene expression studies of duplicated dps genes shows that paralogous gene pairs are expressed differentially and this correlates with the presence of a sigB promoter. Lastly, we identify a rare novel clade of Dps and show that a representative of these proteins in S. coelicolor possesses a dodecameric quaternary structure of high stability.
PMCID: PMC3613396  PMID: 23560105
8.  A Laterally Acquired Galactose Oxidase-Like Gene Is Required for Aerial Development during Osmotic Stress in Streptomyces coelicolor 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(1):e54112.
Phylogenetic reconstruction revealed that most Actinobacterial orthologs of S. coelicolor SCO2837, encoding a metal-dependent galactose oxidase-like protein, are found within Streptomyces and were probably acquired by horizontal gene transfer from fungi. Disruption of SCO2837 (glxA) caused a conditional bld phenotype that could not be reversed by extracellular complementation. Studies aimed at characterising the regulation of expression of glxA showed that it is not a target for other bld genes. We provide evidence that glxA is required for osmotic adaptation, although independently from the known osmotic stress response element SigB. glxA has been predicted to be part of an operon with the transcription unit comprising the upstream cslA gene and glxA. However, both phenotypic and expression studies indicate that it is also expressed from an independent promoter region internal to cslA. GlxA displays an in situ localisation pattern similar to that one observed for CslA at hyphal tips, but localisation of the former is independent of the latter. The functional role of GlxA in relation to CslA is discussed.
PMCID: PMC3543389  PMID: 23326581
9.  Conjugation of Organoruthenium(II) 3-(1H-Benzimidazol-2-yl)pyrazolo[3,4-b]pyridines and Indolo[3,2-d]benzazepines to Recombinant Human Serum Albumin: a Strategy To Enhance Cytotoxicity in Cancer Cells 
Inorganic Chemistry  2011;50(24):12669-12679.
Following our strategy of coupling cyclin-dependent kinase (Cdk) inhibitors with organometallic moieties to improve their physicochemical properties and bioavailability, five organoruthenium complexes (1c–5c) of the general formula [RuCl(η6-arene)(L)]Cl have been synthesized in which the arene is 4-formylphenoxyacetyl-η6-benzylamide and L is a Cdk inhibitor [3-(1H-benzimidazol-2-yl)-1H-pyrazolo[3,4-b]pyridines (L1–L3) and indolo[3,2-d]benzazepines (L4 and L5)]. All of the compounds were characterized by spectroscopic and analytical methods. Upon prolonged standing (2–3 months) at room temperature, the dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) solutions of 1c and 2c–HCl afforded residues, which after recrystallization from EtOH and EtOH/H2O, respectively, were shown by X-ray diffraction to be cis,cis-[RuIICl2(DMSO)2(L1)]·H2O and mer-[RuIICl(DMSO)3(L2–H)]·H2O. Compound 5c, with a coordinated amidine unit, undergoes E/Z isomerization in solution. The antiproliferative activities and effects on the cell cycle of the new compounds were evaluated. Complexes 1c–5c are moderately cytotoxic to cancer cells (CH1, SW480, A549, A2780, and A2780cisR cell lines). Therefore, in order to improve their antiproliferative effects, as well as their drug targeting and delivery to cancer cells, 1c–5c were conjugated to recombinant human serum albumin, potentially exploiting the so-called “enhanced permeability and retention” effect that results in the accumulation of macromolecules in tumors. Notably, a marked increase in cytotoxicity of the albumin conjugates was observed in all cases.
Five organoruthenium complexes [RuCl(η6-arene)(L)]Cl with a modified arene ligand, namely, 4-formylphenoxyacetyl-η6-benzylamide, and L = 3-(1H-benzimidazol-2-yl)-1H-pyrazolo[3,4-b]pyridines or indolo[3,2-d]benzazepines were synthesized and conjugated to recombinant human serum albumin in order to improve their drug targeting and delivery to cancer cells, and a marked increase in cytotoxicity was observed.
PMCID: PMC3255472  PMID: 22111668
10.  Altered DNA Binding and Amplification of Human Breast Cancer Suppressor Gene BRCA1 Induced by a Novel Antitumor Compound, [Ru(η6-p-phenylethacrynate)Cl2(pta)] 
The ruthenium-based complex [Ru(η6-p-phenylethacrynate)Cl2(pta)] (pta = 1,3,5-triaza-7-phosphatricyclo-[]decane), termed ethaRAPTA, is an interesting antitumor compound. The elucidation of the molecular mechanism of drug activity is central to the drug development program. To this end, we have characterized the ethaRAPTA interaction with DNA, including probing the sequence specific modified DNA structural stability and DNA amplification using the breast cancer suppressor gene 1 (BRCA1) of human breast and colon adenocarcinoma cell lines as models. The preference of ethaRAPTA base binding is in the order A > G > T > C. Once modified, the ethaRAPTA-induced BRCA1 structure has higher thermal stability than the modified equivalents of its related compound, RAPTA-C. EthaRAPTA exhibits a higher efficiency than RAPTA-C in inhibiting BRCA1 amplification. With respect to both compounds, the inhibition of BRCA1 amplification is more effective in an isolated system than in cell lines. These data provide evidence that will help to understand the process of elucidating the pathways involved in the response induced by ethaRAPTA.
PMCID: PMC3497320  PMID: 23202946
BRCA1; DNA adducts; DNA amplification; ethaRAPTA; tumor suppressor gene
12.  The dpsA Gene of Streptomyces coelicolor: Induction of Expression from a Single Promoter in Response to Environmental Stress or during Development 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(9):e25593.
The DpsA protein plays a dual role in Streptomyces coelicolor, both as part of the stress response and contributing to nucleoid condensation during sporulation. Promoter mapping experiments indicated that dpsA is transcribed from a single, sigB-like dependent promoter. Expression studies implicate SigH and SigB as the sigma factors responsible for dpsA expression while the contribution of other SigB-like factors is indirect by means of controlling sigH expression. The promoter is massively induced in response to osmotic stress, in part due to its sensitivity to changes in DNA supercoiling. In addition, we determined that WhiB is required for dpsA expression, particularly during development. Gel retardation experiments revealed direct interaction between apoWhiB and the dpsA promoter region, providing the first evidence for a direct WhiB target in S. coelicolor.
PMCID: PMC3184153  PMID: 21984935
13.  Specific DNA structural attributes modulate platinum anticancer drug site selection and cross-link generation 
Nucleic Acids Research  2011;39(18):8200-8212.
Heavy metal compounds have toxic and medicinal potential through capacity to form strong specific bonds with macromolecules, and the interaction of platinum drugs at the major groove nitrogen atom of guanine bases primarily underlies their therapeutic activity. By crystallographic analysis of transition metal–and in particular platinum compound–DNA site selectivity in the nucleosome core, we establish that steric accessibility, which is controlled by specific structural parameters of the double helix, modulates initial guanine–metal bond formation. Moreover, DNA conformational features can be linked to both similarities and distinctions in platinum drug adduct formation between the naked and nucleosomal DNA states. Notably, structures that facilitate initial platinum–guanine bond formation can oppose cross-link generation, rationalizing the occurrence of long-lived therapeutically ineffective monofunctional adducts. These findings illuminate DNA structure-dependent reactivity and provide a novel framework for understanding metal–double helix interactions, which should facilitate the development of improved chromatin-targeting medicinal agents.
PMCID: PMC3185412  PMID: 21724603
14.  Editorial – preview 
Microbial Biotechnology  2011;4(2):138-140.
PMCID: PMC3818854  PMID: 21342459
15.  Forkhead‐associated proteins genetically linked to the serine/threonine kinase PknB regulate carbon flux towards antibiotic biosynthesis in Streptomyces coelicolor 
Microbial Biotechnology  2011;4(2):263-274.
To date, the function of only two of the 34 predicted serine/threonine protein kinases (STPKs) of Streptomyces coelicolor has been described. Here we report functional analysis of pknB and two linked genes, fhaAB, encoding forkhead‐associated (FHA) domain proteins that are part of a highly conserved gene locus in actinobacteria. In contrast to the homologous gene of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, pknB in S. coelicolor is not essential and has no apparent role in defining cell shape. Phosphorylation of recombinant forms of both the full‐length protein and N‐terminal kinase domain suggest that PknB‐mediated signalling in S. coelicolor may be modulated by another factor(s). FhaAB are candidate interacting partners of PknB and loss of their function resulted in deregulation of central carbon metabolism, with carbon flux diverted to synthesis of the antibiotic actinorhodin. The substrate hyphae of the fhaAB mutant also exhibited an unusual cording morphology. The results indicate that inactivation of FHA ‘brake’ proteins can potentially amplify the function of STPKs and, in this case, provide a means to overproduce antibiotics.
PMCID: PMC3818866  PMID: 21342471
16.  Reactivity of anticancer metallodrugs with serum proteins: new insights from size exclusion chromatography-ICP-MS and ESI-MS† 
A method based on the coupling of high resolution size-exclusion liquid chromatography using a polymer stationary phase with inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry was developed to study the interactions of two metallodrugs – cisplatin and RAPTA-T – with the serum proteins albumin and transferrin. In contrast to previous approaches, the technique allowed the total recovery of the metals from the column and was able to discriminate between the different species of the metallodrugs and their complexes with the proteins at femtomolar detection levels. Metal binding was found to be dependent on the protein concentration and on the incubation time of the sample. Cisplatin was found to bind the serum proteins to the same extent, whereas RAPTA-T showed marked preference for transferrin. The affinity of the ruthenium complex for holo-transferrin was higher than for the apo-form suggesting a cooperative iron-mediated metal binding mechanism. RAPTA-T binding to holo-transferrin was further investigated by electrospray mass spectrometry using both the intact protein and a model peptide mimicking the iron-binding pocket.
PMCID: PMC2999900  PMID: 21151827
17.  Streptomyces coelicolor A3(2) CYP102 Protein, a Novel Fatty Acid Hydroxylase Encoded as a Heme Domain without an N-Terminal Redox Partner▿  
The gene from Streptomyces coelicolor A3(2) encoding CYP102B1, a recently discovered CYP102 subfamily which exists solely as a single P450 heme domain, has been cloned, expressed in Escherichia coli, purified, characterized, and compared to its fusion protein family members. Purified reconstitution metabolism experiments with spinach ferredoxin, ferredoxin reductase, and NADPH revealed differences in the regio- and stereoselective metabolism of arachidonic acid compared to that of CYP102A1, exclusively producing 11,12-epoxyeicosa-5,8,14-trienoic acid in addition to the shared metabolites 18-hydroxy arachidonic acid and 14,15-epoxyeicosa-5,8,11-trienoic acid. Consequently, in order to elucidate the physiological function of CYP102B1, transposon mutagenesis was used to generate an S. coelicolor A3(2) strain lacking CYP102B1 activity and the phenotype was assessed.
PMCID: PMC2838009  PMID: 20097805
18.  FtsW Is a Dispensable Cell Division Protein Required for Z-Ring Stabilization during Sporulation Septation in Streptomyces coelicolor▿ † 
Journal of Bacteriology  2008;190(16):5555-5566.
The conserved rodA and ftsW genes encode polytopic membrane proteins that are essential for bacterial cell elongation and division, respectively, and each gene is invariably linked with a cognate class B high-molecular-weight penicillin-binding protein (HMW PBP) gene. Filamentous differentiating Streptomyces coelicolor possesses four such gene pairs. Whereas rodA, although not its cognate HMW PBP gene, is essential in these bacteria, mutation of SCO5302 or SCO2607 (sfr) caused no gross changes to growth and septation. In contrast, disruption of either ftsW or the cognate ftsI gene blocked the formation of sporulation septa in aerial hyphae. The inability of spiral polymers of FtsZ to reorganize into rings in aerial hyphae of these mutants indicates an early pivotal role of an FtsW-FtsI complex in cell division. Concerted assembly of the complete divisome was unnecessary for Z-ring stabilization in aerial hyphae as ftsQ mutants were found to be blocked at a later stage in cell division, during septum closure. Complete cross wall formation occurred in vegetative hyphae in all three fts mutants, indicating that the typical bacterial divisome functions specifically during nonessential sporulation septation, providing a unique opportunity to interrogate the function and dependencies of individual components of the divisome in vivo.
PMCID: PMC2519378  PMID: 18556789
19.  Characterization of Changes to the Cell Surface during the Life Cycle of Streptomyces coelicolor: Atomic Force Microscopy of Living Cells▿  
Journal of Bacteriology  2006;189(6):2219-2225.
Cell surface changes that accompany the complex life cycle of Streptomyces coelicolor were monitored by atomic force microscopy (AFM) of living cells. Images were obtained using tapping mode to reveal that young, branching vegetative hyphae have a relatively smooth surface and are attached to an inert silica surface by means of a secreted extracellular matrix. Older hyphae, representing a transition between substrate and aerial growth, are sparsely decorated with fibers. Previously, a well-organized stable mosaic of fibers, called the rodlet layer, coating the surface of spores has been observed using electron microscopy. AFM revealed that aerial hyphae, prior to sporulation, possess a relatively unstable dense heterogeneous fibrous layer. Material from this layer is shed as the hyphae mature, revealing a more tightly organized fibrous mosaic layer typical of spores. The aerial hyphae are also characterized by the absence of the secreted extracellular matrix. The formation of sporulation septa is accompanied by modification to the surface layer, which undergoes localized temporary disruption at the sites of cell division. The characteristics of the hyphal surfaces of mutants show how various chaplin and rodlin proteins contribute to the formation of fibrous layers of differing stabilities. Finally, older spores with a compact rodlet layer develop surface concavities that are attributed to a reduction of intracellular turgor pressure as metabolic activity slows.
PMCID: PMC1899363  PMID: 17194797
20.  Sulfonium-based Ionic Liquids Incorporating the Allyl Functionality 
A series of sulfonium halides bearing allyl groups have been prepared and characterized. Anion metathesis with Li[Tf2N] and Ag[N(CN)2] resulted in sulfonium-based ionic liquids which exhibit low viscosities at room temperature. The solid state structure of one of the halide salts was determined by single crystal X-ray diffraction.
PMCID: PMC3685385
Sulfonium salts; ionic liquids; allyl group; viscosity; X-ray structure
21.  Evolution of Transmembrane Protein Kinases Implicated in Coordinating Remodeling of Gram-Positive Peptidoglycan: Inside versus Outside▿  
Journal of Bacteriology  2006;188(21):7470-7476.
Members of a family of serine/threonine protein kinases (STPKs), unique to gram-positive bacteria, comprise an intracellular kinase domain and reiterated extracellular PASTA (for “penicillin-binding protein and serine/threonine kinase associated”) domains. PASTA domains exhibit low affinity for β-lactam antibiotics that are structurally similar to their likely normal ligands: stem peptides of unlinked peptidoglycan. The PASTA-domain STPKs are found in the actinobacteria and firmicutes and, as exemplified by PknB of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, they are functionally implicated in aspects of growth, cell division, and development. Whereas the kinase domains are well conserved, there is a wide divergence in the sequences of the multiple PASTA domains. Closer inspection reveals position-dependent evolution of individual PASTA domains: a domain at one position within a gene has a close phylogenetic relationship with a domain at a similar position in an orthologous gene, whereas neighboring domains have clearly diverged one from one another. A similar position-dependent relationship is demonstrated in the second family of proteins with multiple PASTA domains: the high-molecular-weight type II penicillin-binding protein (PBP2x) family. These transpeptidases are recruited to the division site by a localized pool of unlinked peptidoglycan. We infer that protein localization is guided by low-affinity interactions between structurally different unlinked peptidoglycan stem peptides and individual PASTA domains. The STPKs possess a greater multiplicity and diversity of PASTA domains, allowing interactions with a wider range of stem-peptide ligands. These interactions are believed to activate the intracellular kinase domain, allowing an STPK to coordinate peptidoglycan remodeling and reproduction of a complex cell wall structure.
PMCID: PMC1636289  PMID: 16936012
22.  Influence of CrgA on Assembly of the Cell Division Protein FtsZ during Development of Streptomyces coelicolor 
Journal of Bacteriology  2006;188(4):1540-1550.
The product of the crgA gene of Streptomyces coelicolor represents a novel family of small proteins. A single orthologous gene is located close to the origin of replication of all fully sequenced actinomycete genomes and borders a conserved gene cluster implicated in cell growth and division. In S. coelicolor, CrgA is important for coordinating growth and cell division in sporogenic hyphae. In this study, we demonstrate that CrgA is an integral membrane protein whose peak expression is coordinated with the onset of development of aerial hyphae. The protein localizes to discrete foci away from growing hyphal tips. Upon overexpression, CrgA localizes to apical syncytial cells of aerial hyphae and inhibits the formation of productive cytokinetic rings of the bacterial tubulin homolog FtsZ, leading to proteolytic turnover of this major cell division determinant. In the absence of known prokaryotic cell division inhibitors in actinomycetes, CrgA may have an important conserved function influencing Z-ring formation in these bacteria.
PMCID: PMC1367258  PMID: 16452438
23.  Transposon Express, a software application to report the identity of insertions obtained by comprehensive transposon mutagenesis of sequenced genomes: analysis of the preference for in vitro Tn5 transposition into GC-rich DNA 
Nucleic Acids Research  2004;32(14):e113.
Comprehensive mutant libraries can be readily constructed by transposon mutagenesis. To systematically mutagenise the genome of the Gram-positive bacterium Streptomyces coelicolor A3(2), we have employed high-throughput shuttle transposon mutagenesis of a cosmid library prepared in Escherichia coli. The location of transposon insertions is determined using automated procedures for cosmid isolation and DNA sequencing. However, a major bottleneck was the subsequent analysis of DNA sequence files. To overcome this limitation, a software application, Transposon Express, was written to allow the rapid location of transposon insertions in a sequenced genome (available at Transposon Express determines the identity both of a disrupted open reading frame (ORF), and the short target site duplication created by transposition. Transposon Express also reports the orientation of the transposon and can therefore predict transcriptional coupling between an upstream promoter and a promoter-less reporter gene carried by the transposon. Analysis of a large dataset of independent insertions created using a Tn5-based transposon revealed an insertional preference for GC-rich streptomycete DNA compared to E.coli vector DNA. In addition to demonstrating the value of Transposon Express as a generic tool supporting genome-wide transposon mutagenesis programs, these data provide insight into target site selection by Tn5.
PMCID: PMC514396  PMID: 15308758
24.  The Product of a Developmental Gene, crgA, That Coordinates Reproductive Growth in Streptomyces Belongs to a Novel Family of Small Actinomycete-Specific Proteins 
Journal of Bacteriology  2003;185(22):6678-6685.
On solid media, the reproductive growth of Streptomyces involves antibiotic biosynthesis coincident with the erection of filamentous aerial hyphae. Following cessation of growth of an aerial hypha, multiple septation occurs at the tip to form a chain of unigenomic spores. A gene, crgA, that coordinates several aspects of this reproductive growth is described. The gene product is representative of a well-conserved family of small actinomycete proteins with two C-terminal hydrophobic-potential membrane-spanning segments. In Streptomyces avermitilis, crgA is required for sporulation, and inactivation of the gene abolished most sporulation septation in aerial hyphae. Disruption of the orthologous gene in Streptomyces coelicolor indicates that whereas CrgA is not essential for sporulation in this species, during growth on glucose-containing media, it influences the timing of the onset of reproductive growth, with precocious erection of aerial hyphae and antibiotic production by the mutant. Moreover, CrgA subsequently acts to inhibit sporulation septation prior to growth arrest of aerial hyphae. Overexpression of CrgA in S. coelicolor, uncoupling any nutritional and growth phase-dependent regulation, results in growth of nonseptated aerial hyphae on all media tested, consistent with a role for the protein in inhibiting sporulation septation.
PMCID: PMC262101  PMID: 14594842
25.  Ligand substitutions between ruthenium–cymene compounds can control protein versus DNA targeting and anticancer activity 
Nature Communications  2014;5:3462.
Ruthenium compounds have become promising alternatives to platinum drugs by displaying specific activities against different cancers and favourable toxicity and clearance properties. Nonetheless, their molecular targeting and mechanism of action are poorly understood. Here we study two prototypical ruthenium-arene agents—the cytotoxic antiprimary tumour compound [(η6-p-cymene)Ru(ethylene-diamine)Cl]PF6 and the relatively non-cytotoxic antimetastasis compound [(η6-p-cymene)Ru(1,3,5-triaza-7-phosphaadamantane)Cl2]—and discover that the former targets the DNA of chromatin, while the latter preferentially forms adducts on the histone proteins. Using a novel ‘atom-to-cell’ approach, we establish the basis for the surprisingly site-selective adduct formation behaviour and distinct cellular impact of these two chemically similar anticancer agents, which suggests that the cytotoxic effects arise largely from DNA lesions, whereas the protein adducts may be linked to the other therapeutic activities. Our study shows promise for developing new ruthenium drugs, via ligand-based modulation of DNA versus protein binding and thus cytotoxic potential, to target distinguishing epigenetic features of cancer cells.
Ruthenium-cymene-based compounds are investigated as potential anticancer drugs. Here, Adhireksan et al. study two ruthenium-containing compounds with varying cytotoxicity and show that differences in ligand structure may explain their activity and binding to different subcellular targets.
PMCID: PMC3959212  PMID: 24637564

Results 1-25 (26)