• Metabolic and Biosynthetic Diversity in Marine Myxobacteria.

      Gemperlein, Katja; Zaburannyi, Nestor; Garcia, Ronald; La Clair, James J; Müller, Rolf; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut füt Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (2018-09-05)
      Prior to 2005, the vast majority of characterized myxobacteria were obtained from terrestrial habitats. Since then, several species of halotolerant and even obligate marine myxobacteria have been described. Chemical analyses of extracts from these organisms have confirmed their ability to produce secondary metabolites with unique chemical scaffolds. Indeed, new genera of marine-derived myxobacteria, particularly Enhygromyxa, have been shown to produce novel chemical scaffolds that differ from those observed in soil myxobacteria. Further studies have shown that marine sponges and terrestrial myxobacteria are capable of producing similar or even identical secondary metabolites, suggesting that myxobacterial symbionts may have been the true producers. Recent in silico analysis of the genome sequences available from six marine myxobacteria disclosed a remarkably versatile biosynthetic potential. With access to ever-advancing tools for small molecule and genetic evaluation, these studies suggest a bright future for expeditions into this yet untapped resource for secondary metabolites
    • The vacuolar-type ATPase inhibitor archazolid increases tumor cell adhesion to endothelial cells by accumulating extracellular collagen.

      Luong, Betty; Schwenk, Rebecca; Bräutigam, Jacqueline; Müller, Rolf; Menche, Dirk; Bischoff, Iris; Fürst, Robert; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2018-01-01)
      The vacuolar-type H+-ATPase (v-ATPase) is the major proton pump that acidifies intracellular compartments of eukaryotic cells. Since the inhibition of v-ATPase resulted in anti-tumor and anti-metastatic effects in different tumor models, this enzyme has emerged as promising strategy against cancer. Here, we used the well-established v-ATPase inhibitor archazolid, a natural product first isolated from the myxobacterium Archangium gephyra, to study the consequences of v-ATPase inhibition in endothelial cells (ECs), in particular on the interaction between ECs and cancer cells, which has been neglected so far. Human endothelial cells treated with archazolid showed an increased adhesion of tumor cells, whereas the transendothelial migration of tumor cells was reduced. The adhesion process was independent from the EC adhesion molecules ICAM-1, VCAM-1, E-selectin and N-cadherin. Instead, the adhesion was mediated by β1-integrins expressed on tumor cells, as blocking of the integrin β1 subunit reversed this process. Tumor cells preferentially adhered to the β1-integrin ligand collagen and archazolid led to an increase in the amount of collagen on the surface of ECs. The accumulation of collagen was accompanied by a strong decrease of the expression and activity of the protease cathepsin B. Overexpression of cathepsin B in ECs prevented the capability of archazolid to increase the adhesion of tumor cells onto ECs. Our study demonstrates that the inhibition of v-ATPase by archazolid induces a pro-adhesive phenotype in endothelial cells that promotes their interaction with cancer cells, whereas the transmigration of tumor cells was reduced. These findings further support archazolid as a promising anti-metastatic compound.
    • A "Motif-Oriented" Total Synthesis of Nannocystin Ax. Preparation and Biological Assessment of Analogues.

      Meng, Zhanchao; Souillart, Laetitia; Monks, Brendan; Huwyler, Nikolas; Herrmann, Jennifer; Müller, Rolf; Fürstner, Alois; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut füt Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (2018-07-06)
      The highly cytotoxic cyclodepsipeptides of the nannocystin family are known to bind to the eukaryotic translation elongation factor 1α (EF-1α). Analysis of the docking pose, as proposed by a previous in silico study, suggested that the trisubstituted alkene moiety and the neighboring methyl ether form a domain that might be closely correlated with biological activity. This hypothesis sponsored a synthetic campaign which was designed to be "motif-oriented": specifically, a sequence of ring closing alkyne metathesis (RCAM) followed by hydroxy-directed trans-hydrostannation of the resulting cycloalkyne was conceived, which allowed this potentially anchoring substructure to be systematically addressed at a late stage. This inherently flexible approach opened access to nannocystin Ax (1) itself as well as to 10 non-natural analogues. While the biological data confirmed the remarkable potency of this class of compounds and showed that the domain in question is indeed an innate part of the pharmacophore, the specific structure/activity relationships can only partly be reconciled with the original in silico docking study; therefore, we conclude that this model needs to be carefully revisited.
    • Synthetic biology approaches and combinatorial biosynthesis towards heterologous lipopeptide production.

      Yan, Fu; Burgard, Christian; Popoff, Alexander; Zaburannyi, Nestor; Zipf, Gregor; Maier, Josef; Bernauer, Hubert S; Wenzel, Silke C; Müller, Rolf; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut füt Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (2018-10-14)
      Synthetic biology techniques coupled with heterologous secondary metabolite production offer opportunities for the discovery and optimisation of natural products. Here we developed a new assembly strategy based on type IIS endonucleases and elaborate synthetic DNA platforms, which could be used to seamlessly assemble and engineer biosynthetic gene clusters (BGCs). By applying this versatile tool, we designed and assembled more than thirty different artificial myxochromide BGCs, each around 30 kb in size, and established heterologous expression platforms using a derivative of Myxococcus xanthus DK1622 as a host. In addition to the five native types of myxochromides (A, B, C, D and S), novel lipopeptide structures were produced by combinatorial exchange of nonribosomal peptide synthetase (NRPS) encoding genes from different myxochromide BGCs. Inspired by the evolutionary diversification of the native myxochromide megasynthetases, the ancestral A-type NRPS was engineered by inactivation, deletion, or duplication of catalytic domains and successfully converted into functional B-, C- and D-type megasynthetases. The constructional design approach applied in this study enables combinatorial engineering of complex synthetic BGCs and has great potential for the exploitation of other natural product biosynthetic pathways.
    • Biosynthesis of Branched Alkoxy Groups: Iterative Methyl Group Alkylation by a Cobalamin-Dependent Radical SAM Enzyme.

      Wang, Yuanyou; Schnell, Bastien; Baumann, Sascha; Müller, Rolf; Begley, Tadhg P; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut füt Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (2017-02-08)
      The biosynthesis of branched alkoxy groups, such as the unique t-butyl group found in a variety of natural products, is still poorly understood. Recently, cystobactamids were isolated and identified from Cystobacter sp as novel antibacterials. These metabolites contain an isopropyl group proposed to be formed using CysS, a cobalamin-dependent radical S-adenosylmethionine (SAM) methyltransferase. Here, we reconstitute the CysS-catalyzed reaction, on p-aminobenzoate thioester substrates, and demonstrate that it not only catalyzes sequential methylations of a methyl group to form ethyl and isopropyl groups but remarkably also sec-butyl and t-butyl groups. To our knowledge, this is the first in vitro reconstitution of a cobalamin-dependent radical SAM enzyme catalyzing the conversion of a methyl group to a t-butyl group.
    • Future Directions of Marine Myxobacterial Natural Product Discovery Inferred from Metagenomics.

      Garcia, Ronald; La Clair, James J; Müller, Rolf; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus 8.1, 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (2018-08-29)
      Over the last two decades, halophilic (organisms that thrive at high salt concentrations) and halotolerant (organisms that have adapted to high salt concentrations) myxobacteria emerged as an important source of structurally diverse secondary metabolites from the marine environment. This review explores the advance of metagenomics analysis and 16S rRNA gene phylogeny of the cultured and uncultured myxobacteria from marine and other salt-environments up to July 2018. The diversity of novel groups of myxobacteria in these environments appears unprecedented, especially in the
    • Self-resistance guided genome mining uncovers new topoisomerase inhibitors from myxobacteria.

      Panter, Fabian; Krug, Daniel; Baumann, Sascha; Müller, Rolf; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institute für pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1, 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (2018-06-07)
      There is astounding discrepancy between the genome-inscribed production capacity and the set of known secondary metabolite classes from many microorganisms as detected under laboratory cultivation conditions. Genome-mining techniques are meant to fill this gap, but in order to favor discovery of structurally novel as well as bioactive compounds it is crucial to amend genomics-based strategies with selective filtering principles. In this study, we followed a self-resistance guided approach aiming at the discovery of inhibitors of topoisomerase, known as valid target in both cancer and antibiotic therapy. A common host self-defense mechanism against such inhibitors in bacteria is mediated by so-called pentapeptide repeat proteins (PRP). Genes encoding the biosynthetic machinery for production of an alleged topoisomerase inhibitor were found on the basis of their collocation adjacent to a predicted PRP in the genome of the myxobacterium
    • A fluorescence anisotropy assay to discover and characterize ligands targeting the maytansine site of tubulin.

      Menchon, Grégory; Prota, Andrea E; Lucena-Agell, Daniel; Bucher, Pascal; Jansen, Rolf; Irschik, Herbert; Müller, Rolf; Paterson, Ian; Díaz, J Fernando; Altmann, Karl-Heinz; Steinmetz, Michel O; Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2018-05-29)
      Microtubule-targeting agents (MTAs) like taxol and vinblastine are among the most successful chemotherapeutic drugs against cancer. Here, we describe a fluorescence anisotropy-based assay that specifically probes for ligands targeting the recently discovered maytansine site of tubulin. Using this assay, we have determined the dissociation constants of known maytansine site ligands, including the pharmacologically active degradation product of the clinical antibody-drug conjugate trastuzumab emtansine. In addition, we discovered that the two natural products spongistatin-1 and disorazole Z with established cellular potency bind to the maytansine site on β-tubulin. The high-resolution crystal structures of spongistatin-1 and disorazole Z in complex with tubulin allowed the definition of an additional sub-site adjacent to the pocket shared by all maytansine-site ligands, which could be exploitable as a distinct, separate target site for small molecules. Our study provides a basis for the discovery and development of next-generation MTAs for the treatment of cancer.
    • Discovery of recombinases enables genome mining of cryptic biosynthetic gene clusters in Burkholderiales species.

      Wang, Xue; Zhou, Haibo; Chen, Hanna; Jing, Xiaoshu; Zheng, Wentao; Li, Ruijuan; Sun, Tao; Liu, Jiaqi; Fu, Jun; Huo, Liujie; Li, Yue-Zhong; Shen, Yuemao; Ding, Xiaoming; Müller, Rolf; Bian, Xiaoying; Zhang, Youming; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institute für pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1, 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (2018-05-01)
      Bacterial genomes encode numerous cryptic biosynthetic gene clusters (BGCs) that represent a largely untapped source of drugs or pesticides. Mining of the cryptic products is limited by the unavailability of streamlined genetic tools in native producers. Precise genome engineering using bacteriophage recombinases is particularly useful for genome mining. However, recombinases are usually host-specific. The genome-guided discovery of novel recombinases and their transient expression could boost cryptic BGC mining. Herein, we reported a genetic system employing Red recombinases from Burkholderiales strain DSM 7029 for efficient genome engineering in several Burkholderiales species that currently lack effective genetic tools. Using specialized recombinases-assisted in situ insertion of functional promoters, we successfully mined five cryptic nonribosomal peptide synthetase/polyketide synthase BGCs, two of which were silent. Two classes of lipopeptides, glidopeptins and rhizomides, were identified through extensive spectroscopic characterization. This recombinase expression strategy offers utility within other bacteria species, allowing bioprospecting for potentially scalable discovery of novel metabolites with attractive bioactivities.
    • Acetyl-CoA carboxylase 1 regulates endothelial cell migration by shifting the phospholipid composition.

      Glatzel, Daniel K; Koeberle, Andreas; Pein, Helmut; Löser, Konstantin; Stark, Anna; Keksel, Nelli; Werz, Oliver; Müller, Rolf; Bischoff, Iris; Fürst, Robert; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institute für pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1, 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (2018-02)
      The enzyme acetyl-CoA carboxylase (ACC) plays a crucial role in fatty acid metabolism. In recent years, ACC has been recognized as a promising drug target for treating different diseases. However, the role of ACC in vascular endothelial cells (ECs) has been neglected so far. To characterize the role of ACC, we used the ACC inhibitor, soraphen A, as a chemical tool, and also a gene silencing approach. We found that ACC1 was the predominant isoform in human umbilical vein ECs as well as in human microvascular ECs and that soraphen A reduced the levels of malonyl-CoA. We revealed that ACC inhibition shifted the lipid composition of EC membranes. Accordingly, membrane fluidity, filopodia formation, and migratory capacity were reduced. The antimigratory action of soraphen A depended on an increase in the cellular proportion of PUFAs and, most importantly, on a decreased level of phosphatidylglycerol. Our study provides a causal link between ACC, membrane lipid composition, and cell migration in ECs. Soraphen A represents a useful chemical tool to investigate the role of fatty acid metabolism in ECs and ACC inhibition offers a new and valuable therapeutic perspective for the treatment of EC migration-related diseases.
    • Correlating chemical diversity with taxonomic distance for discovery of natural products in myxobacteria.

      Hoffmann, Thomas; Krug, Daniel; Bozkurt, Nisa; Duddela, Srikanth; Jansen, Rolf; Garcia, Ronald; Gerth, Klaus; Steinmetz, Heinrich; Müller, Rolf; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus 8.1, 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (2018-02-23)
      Some bacterial clades are important sources of novel bioactive natural products. Estimating the magnitude of chemical diversity available from such a resource is complicated by issues including cultivability, isolation bias and limited analytical data sets. Here we perform a systematic metabolite survey of ~2300 bacterial strains of the order Myxococcales, a well-established source of natural products, using mass spectrometry. Our analysis encompasses both known and previously unidentified metabolites detected under laboratory cultivation conditions, thereby enabling large-scale comparison of production profiles in relation to myxobacterial taxonomy. We find a correlation between taxonomic distance and the production of distinct secondary metabolite families, further supporting the idea that the chances of discovering novel metabolites are greater by examining strains from new genera rather than additional representatives within the same genus. In addition, we report the discovery and structure elucidation of rowithocin, a myxobacterial secondary metabolite featuring an uncommon phosphorylated polyketide scaffold.
    • Draft Genome Sequence and Annotation of the Obligate Bacterial Endosymbiont Caedibacter taeniospiralis, Causative Agent of the Killer Phenotype in Paramecium tetraurelia.

      Zaburannyi, Nestor; Grosser, Katrin; Gasparoni, Gilles; Müller, Rolf; Schrallhammer, Martina; Simon, Martin; Helmholtz Institut für pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1, 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (2018-01-18)
      Caedibacter taeniospiralis is an obligate endosymbiont living in the cytoplasm of Paramecium tetraureliaC. taeniospiralis causes the so-called killer trait, eliminating intraspecific competitors of its host when released into the medium by the concerted action of the unusual protein structure R-body (refractile body) in addition to an as-yet-unknown toxin.
    • ExoCET: exonuclease in vitro assembly combined with RecET recombination for highly efficient direct DNA cloning from complex genomes.

      Wang, Hailong; Li, Zhen; Jia, Ruonan; Yin, Jia; Li, Aiying; Xia, Liqiu; Yin, Yulong; Müller, Rolf; Fu, Jun; Stewart, A Francis; Zhang, Youming; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1, 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (2017-12-12)
      The exponentially increasing volumes of DNA sequence data highlight the need for new DNA cloning methods to explore the new information. Here, we describe 'ExoCET' (Exonuclease Combined with RecET recombination) to directly clone any chosen region from bacterial and mammalian genomes with nucleotide precision into operational plasmids. ExoCET combines in vitro exonuclease and annealing with the remarkable capacity of full length RecET homologous recombination (HR) to retrieve specified regions from genomic DNA preparations. Using T4 polymerase (T4pol) as the in vitro exonuclease for ExoCET, we directly cloned large regions (>50 kb) from bacterial and mammalian genomes, including DNA isolated from blood. Employing RecET HR or Cas9 cleavage in vitro, the directly cloned region can be chosen with nucleotide precision to position, for example, a gene into an expression vector without the need for further subcloning. In addition to its utility for bioprospecting in bacterial genomes, ExoCET presents straightforward access to mammalian genomes for various applications such as region-specific DNA sequencing that retains haplotype phasing, the rapid construction of optimal, haplotypic, isogenic targeting constructs or a new way to genotype that presents advantages over Southern blotting or polymerase chain reaction. The direct cloning capacities of ExoCET present new freedoms in recombinant DNA technology.
    • Inactivation of SACE_3446, a TetR family transcriptional regulator, stimulates erythromycin production in Saccharopolyspora erythraea.

      Wu, Hang; Wang, Yansheng; Yuan, Li; Mao, Yongrong; Wang, Weiwei; Zhu, Lin; Wu, Panpan; Fu, Chengzhang; Müller, Rolf; Weaver, David T; Zhang, Lixin; Zhang, Buchang; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1,66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (2016-03)
      Erythromycin A is a widely used antibiotic produced by Saccharopolyspora erythraea; however, its biosynthetic cluster lacks a regulatory gene, limiting the yield enhancement via regulation engineering of S. erythraea. Herein, six TetR family transcriptional regulators (TFRs) belonging to three genomic context types were individually inactivated in S. erythraea A226, and one of them, SACE_3446, was proved to play a negative role in regulating erythromycin biosynthesis. EMSA and qRT-PCR analysis revealed that SACE_3446 covering intact N-terminal DNA binding domain specifically bound to the promoter regions of erythromycin biosynthetic gene eryAI, the resistant gene ermE and the adjacent gene SACE_3447 (encoding a long-chain fatty-acid CoA ligase), and repressed their transcription. Furthermore, we explored the interaction relationships of SACE_3446 and previously identified TFRs (SACE_3986 and SACE_7301) associated with erythromycin production. Given demonstrated relatively independent regulation mode of SACE_3446 and SACE_3986 in erythromycin biosynthesis, we individually and concomitantly inactivated them in an industrial S. erythraea WB. Compared with WB, the WBΔ3446 and WBΔ3446Δ3986 mutants respectively displayed 36% and 65% yield enhancement of erythromycin A, following significantly elevated transcription of eryAI and ermE. When cultured in a 5 L fermentor, erythromycin A of WBΔ3446 and WBΔ3446Δ3986 successively reached 4095 mg/L and 4670 mg/L with 23% and 41% production improvement relative to WB. The strategy reported here will be useful to improve antibiotics production in other industrial actinomycete.
    • First Bispecific Inhibitors of the Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor Kinase and the NF-κB Activity As Novel Anticancer Agents.

      Hamed, Mostafa M; Darwish, Sarah S; Herrmann, Jennifer; Abadi, Ashraf H; Engel, Matthias; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1,66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (2017-04-13)
      The activation of the NF-κB transcription factor is a major adaptive response induced upon treatment with EGFR kinase inhibitors, leading to the emergence of resistance in nonsmall cell lung cancer and other tumor types. To suppress this survival mechanism, we developed new thiourea quinazoline derivatives that are dual inhibitors of both EGFR kinase and the NF-κB activity. Optimization of the hit compound, identified in a NF-κB reporter gene assay, led to compound 9b, exhibiting a cellular IC50 for NF-κB inhibition of 0.3 μM while retaining a potent EGFR kinase inhibition (IC50 = 60 nM). The dual inhibitors showed a higher potency than gefitinib to inhibit cell growth of EGFR-overexpressing tumor cell lines in vitro and in a xenograft model in vivo, while no signs of toxicity were observed. An investigation of the molecular mechanism of NF-κB suppression revealed that the dual inhibitors depleted the transcriptional coactivator CREB-binding protein from the NF-κB complex in the nucleus.
    • Sonogashira diversification of unprotected halotryptophans, halotryptophan containing tripeptides; and generation of a new to nature bromo-natural product and its diversification in water.

      Corr, M J; Sharma, S V; Pubill-Ulldemolins, C; Bown, R T; Poirot, P; Smith, D R M; Cartmell, C; Abou Fayad, A; Goss, R J M; Hel,holtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr.7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2017-03-01)
      The blending together of synthetic chemistry with natural product biosynthesis represents a potentially powerful approach to synthesis; to enable this, further synthetic tools and methodologies are needed. To this end, we have explored the first Sonogashira cross-coupling to halotryptophans in water. Broad reaction scope is demonstrated and we have explored the limits of the scope of the reaction. We have demonstrated this methodology to work excellently in the modification of model tripeptides. Furthermore, through precursor directed biosynthesis, we have generated for the first time a new to nature brominated natural product bromo-cystargamide, and demonstrated the applicability of our reaction conditions to modify this novel metabolite.
    • Covalent Lectin Inhibition and Application in Bacterial Biofilm Imaging.

      Wagner, Stefanie; Hauck, Dirk; Hoffmann, Michael; Sommer, Roman; Joachim, Ines; Müller, Rolf; Imberty, Anne; Varrot, Annabelle; Titz, Alexander; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für pharmazeutische Forchung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1, 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (2017-09-28)
      Biofilm formation by pathogenic bacteria is a hallmark of chronic infections. In many cases, lectins play key roles in establishing biofilms. The pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa often exhibiting various drug resistances employs its lectins LecA and LecB as virulence factors and biofilm building blocks. Therefore, inhibition of the function of these proteins is thought to have potential in developing "pathoblockers" preventing biofilm formation and virulence. A covalent lectin inhibitor specific to a carbohydrate binding site is described for the first time. Its application in the LecA-specific in vitro imaging of biofilms formed by P. aeruginosa is also reported.
    • The natural product carolacton inhibits folate-dependent C1 metabolism by targeting FolD/MTHFD.

      Fu, Chengzhang; Sikandar, Asfandyar; Donner, Jannik; Zaburannyi, Nestor; Herrmann, Jennifer; Reck, Michael; Wagner-Döbler, Irene; Koehnke, Jesko; Müller, Rolf; Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124Braunschweig, Germany. (2017-11-16)
      The natural product carolacton is a macrolide keto-carboxylic acid produced by the myxobacterium Sorangium cellulosum, and was originally described as an antibacterial compound. Here we show that carolacton targets FolD, a key enzyme from the folate-dependent C1 metabolism. We characterize the interaction between bacterial FolD and carolacton biophysically, structurally and biochemically. Carolacton binds FolD with nanomolar affinity, and the crystal structure of the FolD-carolacton complex reveals the mode of binding. We show that the human FolD orthologs, MTHFD1 and MTHFD2, are also inhibited in the low nM range, and that micromolar concentrations of carolacton inhibit the growth of cancer cell lines. As mitochondrial MTHFD2 is known to be upregulated in cancer cells, it may be possible to use carolacton as an inhibitor tool compound to assess MTHFD2 as an anti-cancer target.
    • Biosynthesis of methyl-proline containing griselimycins, natural products with anti-tuberculosis activity.

      Lukat, Peer; Katsuyama, Yohei; Wenzel, Silke; Binz, Tina; König, Claudia; Blankenfeldt, Wulf; Brönstrup, Mark; Müller, Rolf; Helmholtz-Institut für pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1, 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (2017-11-01)
      Griselimycins (GMs) are depsidecapeptides with superb anti-tuberculosis activity. They contain up to three (2S,4R)-4-methyl-prolines (4-MePro), of which one blocks oxidative degradation and increases metabolic stability in animal models. The natural congener with this substitution is only a minor component in fermentation cultures. We showed that this product can be significantly increased by feeding the reaction with 4-MePro and we investigated the molecular basis of 4-MePro biosynthesis and incorporation. We identified the GM biosynthetic gene cluster as encoding a nonribosomal peptide synthetase and a sub-operon for 4-MePro formation. Using heterologous expression, gene inactivation, and in vitro experiments, we showed that 4-MePro is generated by leucine hydroxylation, oxidation to an aldehyde, and ring closure with subsequent reduction. The crystal structures of the leucine hydroxylase GriE have been determined in complex with substrates and products, providing insight into the stereospecificity of the reaction.
    • The Biofilm Inhibitor Carolacton Enters Gram-Negative Cells: Studies Using a TolC-Deficient Strain of Escherichia coli.

      Donner, Jannik; Reck, Michael; Bunk, Boyke; Jarek, Michael; App, Constantin Benjamin; Meier-Kolthoff, Jan P; Overmann, Jörg; Müller, Rolf; Kirschning, Andreas; Wagner-Döbler, Irene; Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr, 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2017-11-01)
      The myxobacterial secondary metabolite carolacton inhibits growth of Streptococcus pneumoniae and kills biofilm cells of the caries- and endocarditis-associated pathogen Streptococcus mutans at nanomolar concentrations. Here, we studied the response to carolacton of an Escherichia coli strain that lacked the outer membrane protein TolC. Whole-genome sequencing of the laboratory E. coli strain TolC revealed the integration of an insertion element, IS5, at the tolC locus and a close phylogenetic relationship to the ancient E. coli K-12. We demonstrated via transcriptome sequencing (RNA-seq) and determination of MIC values that carolacton penetrates the phospholipid bilayer of the Gram-negative cell envelope and inhibits growth of E. coli TolC at similar concentrations as for streptococci. This inhibition is completely lost for a C-9 (R) epimer of carolacton, a derivative with an inverted stereocenter at carbon atom 9 [(S) → (R)] as the sole difference from the native molecule, which is also inactive in S. pneumoniae and S. mutans, suggesting a specific interaction of native carolacton with a conserved cellular target present in bacterial phyla as distantly related as Firmicutes and Proteobacteria. The efflux pump inhibitor (EPI) phenylalanine arginine β-naphthylamide (PAβN), which specifically inhibits AcrAB-TolC, renders E. coli susceptible to carolacton. Our data indicate that carolacton has potential for use in antimicrobial chemotherapy against Gram-negative bacteria, as a single drug or in combination with EPIs. Strain E. coli TolC has been deposited at the DSMZ; together with the associated RNA-seq data and MIC values, it can be used as a reference during future screenings for novel bioactive compounds. IMPORTANCE The emergence of pathogens resistant against most or all of the antibiotics currently used in human therapy is a global threat, and therefore the search for antimicrobials with novel targets and modes of action is of utmost importance. The myxobacterial secondary metabolite carolacton had previously been shown to inhibit biofilm formation and growth of streptococci. Here, we investigated if carolacton could act against Gram-negative bacteria, which are difficult targets because of their double-layered cytoplasmic envelope. We found that the model organism Escherichia coli is susceptible to carolacton, similar to the Gram-positive Streptococcus pneumoniae, if its multidrug efflux system AcrAB-TolC is either inactivated genetically, by disruption of the tolC gene, or physiologically by coadministering an efflux pump inhibitor. A carolacton epimer that has a different steric configuration at carbon atom 9 is completely inactive, suggesting that carolacton may interact with the same molecular target in both Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria.