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1.  Genetic and chemical knockdown: a complementary strategy for evaluating an anti-infective target 
The equity of a drug target is principally evaluated by its genetic vulnerability with tools ranging from antisense- and microRNA-driven knockdowns to induced expression of the target protein. In order to upgrade the process of antibacterial target identification and discern its most effective type of inhibition, an in silico toolbox that evaluates its genetic and chemical vulnerability leading either to stasis or cidal outcome was constructed and validated. By precise simulation and careful experimentation using enolpyruvyl shikimate-3-phosphate synthase and its specific inhibitor glyphosate, it was shown that genetic knockdown is distinct from chemical knockdown. It was also observed that depending on the particular mechanism of inhibition, viz competitive, uncompetitive, and noncompetitive, the antimicrobial potency of an inhibitor could be orders of magnitude different. Susceptibility of Escherichia coli to glyphosate and the lack of it in Mycobacterium tuberculosis could be predicted by the in silico platform. Finally, as predicted and simulated in the in silico platform, the translation of growth inhibition to a cidal effect was able to be demonstrated experimentally by altering the carbon source from sorbitol to glucose.
PMCID: PMC3572760  PMID: 23413046
knockdown; inhibition; in silico; vulnerability
2.  A kinetic platform for in silico modeling of the metabolic dynamics in Escherichia coli 
A prerequisite for a successful design and discovery of an antibacterial drug is the identification of essential targets as well as potent inhibitors that adversely affect the survival of bacteria. In order to understand how intracellular perturbations occur due to inhibition of essential metabolic pathways, we have built, through the use of ordinary differential equations, a mathematical model of 8 major Escherichia coli pathways.
Individual in vitro enzyme kinetic parameters published in the literature were used to build the network of pathways in such a way that the flux distribution matched that reported from whole cells. Gene regulation at the transcription level as well as feedback regulation of enzyme activity was incorporated as reported in the literature. The unknown kinetic parameters were estimated by trial and error through simulations by observing network stability. Metabolites, whose biosynthetic pathways were not represented in this platform, were provided at a fixed concentration. Unutilized products were maintained at a fixed concentration by removing excess quantities from the platform. This approach enabled us to achieve steady state levels of all the metabolites in the cell. The output of various simulations correlated well with those previously published.
Such a virtual platform can be exploited for target identification through assessment of their vulnerability, desirable mode of target enzyme inhibition, and metabolite profiling to ascribe mechanism of action following a specific target inhibition. Vulnerability of targets in the biosynthetic pathway of coenzyme A was evaluated using this platform. In addition, we also report the utility of this platform in understanding the impact of a physiologically relevant carbon source, glucose versus acetate, on metabolite profiles of bacterial pathogens.
PMCID: PMC3170011  PMID: 21918631
antibacterial drug; mathematical model; kinetic platform; metabolic dynamics; Escherichia coli

Results 1-2 (2)