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1.  Baulamycins A and B, Broad-Spectrum Antibiotics Identified as Inhibitors of Siderophore Biosynthesis in Staphylococcus aureus and Bacillus anthracis 
Siderophores are high-affinity iron chelators produced by microorganisms and frequently contribute to the virulence of human pathogens. Targeted inhibition of the biosynthesis of siderophores staphyloferrin B of Staphylococcus aureus and petrobactin of Bacillus anthracis hold considerable potential as a single or combined treatment for methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) and anthrax infection, respectively. The biosynthetic pathways for both siderophores involve a nonribosomal peptide synthetase independent siderophore (NIS) synthetase, including SbnE in staphyloferrin B and AsbA in petrobactin. In this study, we developed a biochemical assay specific for NIS synthetases to screen for inhibitors of SbnE and AsbA against a library of marine microbial-derived natural product extracts (NPEs). Analysis of the NPE derived from Streptomyces tempisquensis led to the isolation of the novel antibiotics baulamycins A (BmcA, 6) and B (BmcB, 7). BmcA and BmcB displayed in vitro activity with IC50 values of 4.8 µM and 19 µM against SbnE and 180 µM and 200 µM against AsbA, respectively. Kinetic analysis showed that the compounds function as reversible competitive enzyme inhibitors. Liquid culture studies with S. aureus, B. anthracis, E. coli and several other bacterial pathogens demonstrated the capacity of these natural products to penetrate bacterial barriers and inhibit growth of both Gram-positive and Gram-negative species. These studies provide proof-of-concept that natural product inhibitors targeting siderophore virulence factors can provide access to novel broad-spectrum antibiotics, which may serve as important leads for the development of potent anti-infective agents
doi:10.1021/ja4115924
PMCID: PMC4028973  PMID: 24401083
high throughput screening; Staphylococcus aureus; Bacillus anthracis; natural product; antibiotic
2.  Discovery of Potent Broad Spectrum Antivirals Derived from Marine Actinobacteria 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(12):e82318.
Natural products provide a vast array of chemical structures to explore in the discovery of new medicines. Although secondary metabolites produced by microbes have been developed to treat a variety of diseases, including bacterial and fungal infections, to date there has been limited investigation of natural products with antiviral activity. In this report, we used a phenotypic cell-based replicon assay coupled with an iterative biochemical fractionation process to identify, purify, and characterize antiviral compounds produced by marine microbes. We isolated a compound from Streptomyces kaviengensis, a novel actinomycetes isolated from marine sediments obtained off the coast of New Ireland, Papua New Guinea, which we identified as antimycin A1a. This compound displays potent activity against western equine encephalitis virus in cultured cells with half-maximal inhibitory concentrations of less than 4 nM and a selectivity index of greater than 550. Our efforts also revealed that several antimycin A analogues display antiviral activity, and mechanism of action studies confirmed that these Streptomyces-derived secondary metabolites function by inhibiting the cellular mitochondrial electron transport chain, thereby suppressing de novo pyrimidine synthesis. Furthermore, we found that antimycin A functions as a broad spectrum agent with activity against a wide range of RNA viruses in cultured cells, including members of the Togaviridae, Flaviviridae, Bunyaviridae, Picornaviridae, and Paramyxoviridae families. Finally, we demonstrate that antimycin A reduces central nervous system viral titers, improves clinical disease severity, and enhances survival in mice given a lethal challenge with western equine encephalitis virus. Our results provide conclusive validation for using natural product resources derived from marine microbes as source material for antiviral drug discovery, and they indicate that host mitochondrial electron transport is a viable target for the continued development of broadly active antiviral compounds.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0082318
PMCID: PMC3857800  PMID: 24349254
4.  Titration-based screening for evaluation of natural product extracts: identification of an aspulvinone family of luciferase inhibitors 
Chemistry & biology  2011;18(11):1442-1452.
The chemical diversity of nature has tremendous potential for discovery of new molecular probes and medicinal agents. However, sensitivity of HTS assays to interfering components of crude extracts derived from plants, macro- and microorganisms has curtailed their use in lead discovery efforts. Here we describe a process for leveraging the concentration-response curves (CRCs) obtained from quantitative HTS to improve the initial selection of “actives” from a library of partially fractionated natural product extracts derived from marine actinomycetes and fungi. By using pharmacological activity, the first-pass CRC paradigm aims to improve the probability that labor-intensive subsequent steps of re-culturing, extraction and bioassay-guided isolation of active component(s) target the most promising strains and growth conditions. We illustrate how this process identified a family of fungal metabolites as potent inhibitors of firefly luciferase, subsequently resolved in molecular detail by x-ray crystallography.
doi:10.1016/j.chembiol.2011.08.011
PMCID: PMC3225805  PMID: 22118678
5.  Complementary Cell-Based High Throughput Screens Identify Novel Modulators of the Unfolded Protein Response 
Journal of Biomolecular Screening  2011;16(8):825-835.
Despite advances toward understanding the prevention and treatment of many cancers, patients who suffer from oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) confront a survival rate that has remained unimproved for more than two decades indicating our ability to treat them pharmacologically has reached a plateau. In an ongoing effort to improve the clinical outlook for this disease, we previously reported that an essential component of the mechanism by which the proteasome inhibitor bortezomib (PS-341, Velcade) induced apoptosis in OSCC required the activation of a terminal unfolded protein response (UPR). Predicated on these studies, we hypothesized that high throughput screening (HTS) of large diverse chemical libraries might identify more potent or selective small molecule activators of the apoptotic arm of the UPR to control or kill OSCC. We have developed complementary cell-based assays using stably transfected CHO-K1 cell lines that individually assess the PERK/eIF2α/CHOP (apoptotic) or the IRE1/XBP1 (adaptive) UPR sub-pathways. A ~66K compound collection was screened at the University of Michigan Center for Chemical Genomics that included a unique library of pre-fractionated natural product extracts. The mycotoxin methoxycitrinin was isolated from a natural extract and found to selectively activate the CHOP-luciferase reporter at 80μM. A series of citrinin derivatives were isolated from these extracts, including a unique congener that has not been previously described. In an effort to identify more potent compounds we examined the ability of citrinin and the structurally related mycotoxins ochratoxin A and patulin to activate the UPR. Strikingly, we found that patulin at 2.5 – 10μM induced a terminal UPR in a panel of OSCC cells that was characterized by an increase in CHOP, GADD34 and ATF3 gene expression and XBP1 splicing. A luminescent caspase assay and the induction of several BH3-only genes indicated that patulin could induce apoptosis in OSCC cells. These data support the use of this complementary HTS strategy to identify novel modulators of UPR signaling and tumor cell death.
doi:10.1177/1087057111414893
PMCID: PMC3374590  PMID: 21844328
unfolded protein response; endoplasmic reticulum stress; cell-based assay; luciferase reporter; natural products

Results 1-5 (5)