Recent Submissions

  • Dynamic Proteoids Generated From Dipeptide-Based Monomers.

    Liu, Yun; Stuart, Marc C A; Buhler, Eric; Hirsch, Anna K H; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus 8.1, 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (2018-05-28)
    Dynamic proteoids are dynamic covalent analogues of proteins which are generated through the reversible polymerization of amino-acid- or peptide-derived monomers. The authors design and prepare a series of dynamic proteoids based on the reversible polycondensation of six types of dipeptide hydrazides bearing different categories of side chains. The polymerization and structures of biodynamers generated by
  • Crystal Structures of Fungal Tectonin in Complex with O-Methylated Glycans Suggest Key Role in Innate Immune Defense.

    Sommer, Roman; Makshakova, Olga N; Wohlschlager, Therese; Hutin, Stephanie; Marsh, May; Titz, Alexander; Künzler, Markus; Varrot, Annabelle; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus 8.1, 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (2018-03-06)
    Innate immunity is the first line of defense against pathogens and predators. To initiate a response, it relies on the detection of invaders, where lectin-carbohydrate interactions play a major role. O-Methylated glycans were previously identified as non-self epitopes and conserved targets for defense effector proteins belonging to the tectonin superfamily. Here, we present two crystal structures of Tectonin 2 from the mushroom Laccaria bicolor in complex with methylated ligands, unraveling the molecular basis for this original specificity. Furthermore, they revealed the formation of a ball-shaped tetramer with 24 binding sites distributed at its surface, resembling a small virus capsid. Based on the crystal structures, a methylation recognition motif was identified and found in the sequence of many tectonins from bacteria to human. Our results support a key role of tectonins in innate defense based on a distinctive and conserved type of lectin-glycan interaction.
  • The interferon-stimulated gene product oligoadenylate synthetase-like protein enhances replication of Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) and interacts with the KSHV ORF20 protein.

    Bussey, Kendra A; Lau, Ulrike; Schumann, Sophie; Gallo, Antonio; Osbelt, Lisa; Stempel, Markus; Arnold, Christine; Wissing, Josef; Gad, Hans Henrik; Hartmann, Rune; Brune, Wolfram; Jänsch, Lothar; Whitehouse, Adrian; Brinkmann, Melanie M; Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2018-03)
    Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) is one of the few oncogenic human viruses known to date. Its large genome encodes more than 85 proteins and includes both unique viral proteins as well as proteins conserved amongst herpesviruses. KSHV ORF20 is a member of the herpesviral core UL24 family, but the function of ORF20 and its role in the viral life cycle is not well understood. ORF20 encodes three largely uncharacterized isoforms, which we found were localized predominantly in the nuclei and nucleoli. Quantitative affinity purification coupled to mass spectrometry (q-AP-MS) identified numerous specific interacting partners of ORF20, including ribosomal proteins and the interferon-stimulated gene product (ISG) oligoadenylate synthetase-like protein (OASL). Both endogenous and transiently transfected OASL co-immunoprecipitated with ORF20, and this interaction was conserved among all ORF20 isoforms and multiple ORF20 homologs of the UL24 family in other herpesviruses. Characterization of OASL interacting partners by q-AP-MS identified a very similar interactome to that of ORF20. Both ORF20 and OASL copurified with 40S and 60S ribosomal subunits, and when they were co-expressed, they associated with polysomes. Although ORF20 did not have a global effect on translation, ORF20 enhanced RIG-I induced expression of endogenous OASL in an IRF3-dependent but IFNAR-independent manner. OASL has been characterized as an ISG with antiviral activity against some viruses, but its role for gammaherpesviruses was unknown. We show that OASL and ORF20 mRNA expression were induced early after reactivation of latently infected HuARLT-rKSHV.219 cells. Intriguingly, we found that OASL enhanced infection of KSHV. During infection with a KSHV ORF20stop mutant, however, OASL-dependent enhancement of infectivity was lost. Our data have characterized the interaction of ORF20 with OASL and suggest ORF20 usurps the function of OASL to benefit KSHV infection.
  • N-Acetylmuramic Acid (MurNAc) Auxotrophy of the Oral PathogenTannerella forsythia: Characterization of a MurNAc Kinase and Analysis of Its Role in Cell Wall Metabolism.

    Hottmann, Isabel; Mayer, Valentina M T; Tomek, Markus B; Friedrich, Valentin; Calvert, Matthew B; Titz, Alexander; Schäffer, Christina; Mayer, Christoph; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus 8.1, 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (2018)
    Tannerella forsythia is an anaerobic, Gram-negative oral pathogen that thrives in multispecies gingival biofilms associated with periodontitis. The bacterium is auxotrophic for the commonly essential bacterial cell wall sugarN-acetylmuramic acid (MurNAc) and, thus, strictly depends on an exogenous supply of MurNAc for growth and maintenance of cell morphology. A MurNAc transporter (Tf_MurT; Tanf_08375) and an ortholog of theEscherichia colietherase MurQ (Tf_MurQ; Tanf_08385) converting MurNAc-6-phosphate to GlcNAc-6-phosphate were recently described forT. forsythia.In between the respective genes on theT. forsythiagenome, a putative kinase gene is located. In this study, the putative kinase (Tf_MurK; Tanf_08380) was produced as a recombinant protein and biochemically characterized. Kinetic studies revealed Tf_MurK to be a 6-kinase with stringent substrate specificity for MurNAc exhibiting a 6 × 104-fold higher catalytic efficiency (kcat/Km) for MurNAc than forN-acetylglucosamine (GlcNAc) withkcatvalues of 10.5 s-1and 0.1 s-1andKmvalues of 200 μM and 116 mM, respectively. The enzyme kinetic data suggest that Tf_MurK is subject to substrate inhibition (Ki[S]= 4.2 mM). To assess the role of Tf_MurK in the cell wall metabolism ofT. forsythia, a kinase deletion mutant (ΔTf_murK::erm) was constructed. This mutant accumulated MurNAc intracellularly in the exponential phase, indicating the capability to take up MurNAc, but inability to catabolize MurNAc. In the stationary phase, the MurNAc level was reduced in the mutant, while the level of the peptidoglycan precursor UDP-MurNAc-pentapeptide was highly elevated. Further, according to scanning electron microscopy evidence, theΔTf_murK::ermmutant was more tolerant toward low MurNAc concentration in the medium (below 0.5 μg/ml) before transition from healthy, rod-shaped to fusiform cells occurred, while the parent strain required > 1 μg/ml MurNAc for optimal growth. These data reveal thatT. forsythiareadily catabolizes exogenous MurNAc but simultaneously channels a proportion of the sugar into peptidoglycan biosynthesis. Deletion ofTf_murKblocks MurNAc catabolism and allows the direction of MurNAc solely to peptidoglycan biosynthesis, resulting in a growth advantage in MurNAc-depleted medium. This work increases our understanding of theT. forsythiacell wall metabolism and may pave new routes for lead finding in the treatment of periodontitis.
  • An efficient synthesis of 1,6-anhydro- N -acetylmuramic acid from N -acetylglucosamine

    Calvert, Matthew B; Mayer, Christoph; Titz, Alexander; Helmholtz Institut für pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1, 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (2017-12-11)
  • Phage Display on the Anti-infective Target 1-Deoxy-d-xylulose-5-phosphate Synthase Leads to an Acceptor-Substrate Competitive Peptidic Inhibitor.

    Marcozzi, Alessio; Masini, Tiziana; Zhu, Di; Pesce, Diego; Illarionov, Boris; Fischer, Markus; Herrmann, Andreas; Hirsch, Anna Katharina Herta; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1, 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (2018-01-04)
    Enzymes of the 2-C-methyl-d-erythritol-4-phosphate pathway for the biosynthesis of isoprenoid precursors are validated drug targets. By performing phage display on 1-deoxy-d-xylulose-5-phosphate synthase (DXS), which catalyzes the first step of this pathway, we discovered several peptide hits and recognized false-positive hits. The enriched peptide binder P12 emerged as a substrate (d-glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate)-competitive inhibitor of Deinococcus radiodurans DXS. The results indicate possible overlap of the cofactor- and acceptor-substrate-binding pockets and provide inspiration for the design of inhibitors of DXS with a unique and novel mechanism of inhibition.
  • 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.
  • Dynamic Combinatorial Chemistry to Identify Binders of ThiT, an S-Component of the Energy-Coupling Factor Transporter for Thiamine.

    Monjas, Leticia; Swier, Lotteke J Y M; Setyawati, Inda; Slotboom, Dirk J; Hirsch, Anna K H; Helmholtz-Institut für pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E9.1, 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (2017-10-20)
    We applied dynamic combinatorial chemistry (DCC) to identify ligands of ThiT, the S-component of the energy-coupling factor (ECF) transporter for thiamine in Lactococcus lactis. We used a pre-equilibrated dynamic combinatorial library (DCL) and saturation-transfer difference (STD) NMR spectroscopy to identify ligands of ThiT. This is the first report in which DCC is used for fragment growing to an ill-defined pocket, and one of the first reports for its application with an integral membrane protein as target.
  • Discovery of a Potent Inhibitor Class with High Selectivity toward Clostridial Collagenases.

    Schönauer, Esther; Kany, Andreas M; Haupenthal, Jörg; Hüsecken, Kristina; Hoppe, Isabel J; Voos, Katrin; Yahiaoui, Samir; Elsässer, Brigitta; Ducho, Christian; Brandstetter, Hans; Hartmann, Rolf W; Helmholtz-Institut für pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1, 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (2017-09-13)
    Secreted virulence factors like bacterial collagenases are conceptually attractive targets for fighting microbial infections. However, previous attempts to develop potent compounds against these metalloproteases failed to achieve selectivity against human matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs). Using a surface plasmon resonance-based screening complemented with enzyme inhibition assays, we discovered an N-aryl mercaptoacetamide-based inhibitor scaffold that showed sub-micromolar affinities toward collagenase H (ColH) from the human pathogen Clostridium histolyticum. Moreover, these inhibitors also efficiently blocked the homologous bacterial collagenases, ColG from C. histolyticum, ColT from C. tetani, and ColQ1 from the Bacillus cereus strain Q1, while showing negligible activity toward human MMPs-1, -2, -3, -7, -8, and -14. The most active compound displayed a more than 1000-fold selectivity over human MMPs. This selectivity can be rationalized by the crystal structure of ColH with this compound, revealing a distinct non-primed binding mode to the active site. The non-primed binding mode presented here paves the way for the development of selective broad-spectrum bacterial collagenase inhibitors with potential therapeutic application in humans.
  • Saccharide-Containing Dynamic Proteoids.

    Liu, Yun; Stuart, Marc C A; Witte, Martin D; Buhler, Eric; Hirsch, Anna K H; Helmholtz-Institute for Pharmaceutical Research Saarland (HIPS), Universitycampus E8.1, 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (2017-10-05)
    Dynamic proteoids are dynamic covalent analogues of proteins, which can be used as new adaptive biomaterials. We designed and synthesized a range of sugar-containing dynamic proteoid biodynamers based on the polycondensation of different types of amino acid and dipeptide hydrazides with a biological aliphatic dialdehyde and a nonbiological aromatic dialdehyde. By using the saccharide-based dialdehyde, the biocompatibility of biodynamers should be enhanced compared to previously reported biodynamers.
  • Photorhabdus luminescens lectin A (PllA) - a new probe for detecting α-galactoside-terminating glycoconjugates.

    Beshr, Ghamdan; Sikandar, Asfandyar; Jemiller, Eva-Maria; Klymiuk, Nikolai; Hauck, Dirk; Wagner, Stefanie; Wolf, Eckhard; Koehnke, Jesko; Titz, Alexander; Helmholtz-Institute for Pharmaceutical Research Saarland (HIPS), Universitycampus E8.1, 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (2017-09-28)
    Lectins play important roles in infections by pathogenic bacteria, for example, in host colonization, persistence and biofilm formation. The Gram-negative entomopathogenic bacterium Photorhabdus luminescens symbiotically lives in insect-infecting Heterorhabditis nematodes and kills the insect host upon invasion by the nematode. The P. luminescens genome harbors the gene plu2096 coding for a novel lectin that we named PllA. We analyzed the binding properties of purified PllA with a glycan array and a binding assay in solution. Both assays revealed a strict specificity of PllA for alpha-galactoside-terminating glycoconjugates. The crystal structures of apo PllA and complexes with three different ligands revealed the molecular basis for the strict specificity of this lectin. Furthermore, we found that a 90 degree twist in subunit orientation leads to a peculiar quaternary structure compared with that of its ortholog LecA from Pseudomonas aeruginosa. We also investigated the utility of PllA as a probe for detecting alpha-galactosides. The alpha-Gal epitope is present on wild-type pig cells and the main reason for hyperacute organ rejection in pig to primate xenotransplantation. We noted that PllA specifically recognizes this epitope on the glycan array and demonstrated that PllA can be used as a fluorescent probe to detect this epitope on primary porcine cells in vitro. In summary, our biochemical and structural analyses of the P. luminescens lectin PllA have disclosed the structural basis for PllAs high specificity for alpha-galactoside-containing ligands, and we show that PllA can be used to visualize alpha-Gal epitope on porcine tissues.
  • Semi-synthetic vNAR libraries screened against therapeutic antibodies primarily deliver anti-idiotypic binders.

    Könning, Doreen; Rhiel, Laura; Empting, Martin; Grzeschik, Julius; Sellmann, Carolin; Schröter, Christian; Zielonka, Stefan; Dickgießer, Stephan; Pirzer, Thomas; Yanakieva, Desislava; Becker, Stefan; Kolmar, Harald; Helmholtz-Institut für pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1, 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (2017-08-29)
    Anti-idiotypic binders which specifically recognize the variable region of monoclonal antibodies have proven to be robust tools for pharmacokinetic studies of antibody therapeutics and for the development of cancer vaccines. In the present investigation, we focused on the identification of anti-idiotypic, shark-derived IgNAR antibody variable domains (vNARs) targeting the therapeutic antibodies matuzumab and cetuximab for the purpose of developing specific capturing ligands. Using yeast surface display and semi-synthetic, CDR3-randomized libraries, we identified several highly specific binders targeting both therapeutic antibodies in their corresponding variable region, without applying any counter selections during screening. Importantly, anti-idiotypic vNAR binders were not cross-reactive towards cetuximab or matuzumab, respectively, and comprised good target recognition in the presence of human and mouse serum. When coupled to magnetic beads, anti-idiotypic vNAR variants could be used as efficient capturing tools. Moreover, a two-step procedure involving vNAR-functionalized beads was employed for the enrichment of potentially bispecific cetuximab × matuzumab antibody constructs. In conclusion, semi-synthetic and CDR3-randomized vNAR libraries in combination with yeast display enable the fast and facile identification of anti-idiotypic vNAR domains targeting monoclonal antibodies primarily in an anti-idiotypic manner.
  • Structure-functionality relationship and pharmacological profiles of Pseudomonas aeruginosa alkylquinolone quorum sensing modulators.

    Kamal, Ahmed A M; Petrera, Lucia; Eberhard, Jens; Hartmann, Rolf W.; Helmholtz-Institu für pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland,, Universitätscampus E8.1, 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (2017-05-31)
    An important paradigm in anti-infective research is the antivirulence concept. Pathoblockers are compounds which disarm bacteria of their arsenal of virulence factors. PqsR is a transcriptional regulator controlling the production of such factors in Pseudomonas aeruginosa, most prominently pyocyanin. In this work, a series of tool compounds based on the structure of the natural ligand 2-heptyl-4-quinolone (HHQ) were used for probing the structure-functionality relationship. Four different profiles are identified namely agonists, antagonists, inverse agonists and biphasic modulators. Molecular docking studies revealed that each class of the PqsR modulators showed distinctive interactions in the PqsR binding domain. It was found that the substituents in position 3 of the quinolone core act as a switch between the different profiles, according to their ability to donate or accept a hydrogen bond, or form a hydrophobic interaction. Finally, it was shown that only inverse agonists were able to strongly inhibit pyocyanin production.
  • Drifting of heme-coordinating group in imidazolylmethylxanthones leading to improved selective inhibition of CYP11B1.

    Gobbi, Silvia; Hu, Qingzhong; Zimmer, Christina; Belluti, Federica; Rampa, Angela; Hartmann, Rolf W.; Bisi, Alessandra; HIPS, Helmholtz Institut für pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1, 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (2017-08-02)
    An abnormal increase in glucocorticoid levels is responsible for pathological disorders affecting different organs and systems, and the selective inhibition of appropriate steroidogenic enzymes represents a validated strategy to restore their physiological levels. In continuing our studies on CYP11B inhibitors, in this paper a small series of 6-substituted 3-imidazolylmethylxanthones was designed and synthesized, according to the data acquired from previously reported series of derivatives and from a purposely-performed docking study. The new compounds proved to be potent inhibitors of CYP11B isoforms, being effective on CYP11B1 in the low nanomolar range and improving selectivity with respect to CYP11B2, compared to previously reported related compounds. These data further confirmed that a suitable mutual arrangement of the imidazolylmethyl pharmacophore and a properly selected substituent on the xanthone core allows a fine tuning of the activity towards the different CYPs and further corroborate the role of the xanthone scaffold as a privileged structure in this field.
  • Design and synthesis of a library of lead-like 2,4-bisheterocyclic substituted thiophenes as selective Dyrk/Clk inhibitors.

    Schmitt, Christian; Kail, Dagmar; Mariano, Marica; Empting, Martin; Weber, Nadja; Paul, Tamara; Hartmann, Rolf W.; Engel, Matthias; Helmholtz Institute für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1, 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (2014)
    The Dyrk family of protein kinases is implicated in the pathogenesis of several diseases, including cancer and neurodegeneration. Pharmacological inhibitors were mainly described for Dyrk1A so far, but in fewer cases for Dyrk1B, Dyrk2 or other isoforms. Herein, we report the development and optimization of 2,4-bisheterocyclic substituted thiophenes as a novel class of Dyrk inhibitors. The optimized hit compounds displayed favorable pharmacokinetic properties and high ligand efficiencies, and inhibited Dyrk1B in intact cells. In a larger selectivity screen, only Clk1 and Clk4 were identified as additional targets of compound 48, but no other kinases frequently reported as off-targets. Interestingly, Dyrk1A is implicated in the regulation of alternative splicing, a function shared with Clk1/Clk4; thus, some of the dual inhibitors might be useful as efficient splicing modulators. A further compound (29) inhibited Dyrk1A and 1B with an IC50 of 130 nM, showing a moderate selectivity over Dyrk2. Since penetration of the central nervous system (CNS) seems possible based on the physicochemical properties, this compound might serve as a lead for the development of potential therapeutic agents against glioblastoma. Furthermore, an inhibitor selective for Dyrk2 (24) was also identified, which might be are suitable as a pharmacological tool to dissect Dyrk2 isoform-mediated functions.
  • In-depth Profiling of MvfR-Regulated Small Molecules in Pseudomonas aeruginosa after Quorum Sensing Inhibitor Treatment.

    Allegretta, Giuseppe; Maurer, Christine K; Eberhard, Jens; Maura, Damien; Hartmann, Rolf W; Rahme, Laurence; Empting, Martin; Helmholtz-Institute for Pharmaceutical Research Saarland (HIPS),Saarland 9 University, 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (2017)
    Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a Gram-negative bacterium, which causes opportunistic infections in immuno-compromised individuals. Due to its multiple resistances toward antibiotics, the development of new drugs is required. Interfering with Quorum Sensing (QS), a cell-to-cell communication system, has shown to be highly efficient in reducing P. aeruginosa pathogenicity. One of its QS systems employs Pseudomonas Quinolone Signal (PQS) and 4-hydroxy-2-heptylquinoline (HHQ) as signal molecules. Both activate the transcriptional regulator MvfR (Multiple Virulence Factor Regulator), also called PqsR, driving the production of QS molecules as well as toxins and biofilm formation. The aim of this work was to elucidate the effects of QS inhibitors (QSIs), such as MvfR antagonists and PqsBC inhibitors, on the biosynthesis of the MvfR-regulated small molecules 2'-aminoacetophenone (2-AA), dihydroxyquinoline (DHQ), HHQ, PQS, and 4-hydroxy-2-heptylquinoline-N-oxide (HQNO). The employed synthetic MvfR antagonist fully inhibited pqs small molecule formation showing expected sigmoidal dose-response curves for 2-AA, HQNO, HHQ and PQS. Surprisingly, DHQ levels were enhanced at lower antagonist concentrations followed by a full suppression at higher QSI amounts. This particular bi-phasic profile hinted at the accumulation of a biosynthetic intermediate resulting in the observed overproduction of the shunt product DHQ. Additionally, investigations on PqsBC inhibitors showed a reduction of MvfR natural ligands, while increased 2-AA, DHQ and HQNO levels compared to the untreated cells were detected. Moreover, PqsBC inhibitors did not show any significant effect in PA14 pqsC mutant demonstrating their target selectivity. As 2-AA is important for antibacterial tolerance, the QSIs were evaluated in their capability to attenuate persistence. Indeed, persister cells were reduced along with 2-AA inhibition resulting from MvfR antagonism, but not from PqsBC inhibition. In conclusion, antagonizing MvfR using a dosage capable of fully suppressing this QS system will lead to a favorable therapeutic outcome as DHQ overproduction is avoided and bacterial persistence is reduced.
  • Molecular basis of HHQ biosynthesis: molecular dynamics simulations, enzyme kinetic and surface plasmon resonance studies

    Steinbach, Anke; Maurer, Christine K; Weidel, Elisabeth; Henn, Claudia; Brengel, Christian; Hartmann, Rolf W; Negri, Matthias (2013-08-01)
    Abstract Background PQS (P seudomonas Quinolone Signal) and its precursor HHQ are signal molecules of the P. aeruginosa quorum sensing system. They explicate their role in mammalian pathogenicity by binding to the receptor PqsR that induces virulence factor production and biofilm formation. The enzyme PqsD catalyses the biosynthesis of HHQ. Results Enzyme kinetic analysis and surface plasmon resonance (SPR) biosensor experiments were used to determine mechanism and substrate order of the biosynthesis. Comparative analysis led to the identification of domains involved in functionality of PqsD. A kinetic cycle was set up and molecular dynamics (MD) simulations were used to study the molecular bases of the kinetics of PqsD. Trajectory analysis, pocket volume measurements, binding energy estimations and decompositions ensured insights into the binding mode of the substrates anthraniloyl-CoA and β-ketodecanoic acid. Conclusions Enzyme kinetics and SPR experiments hint at a ping-pong mechanism for PqsD with ACoA as first substrate. Trajectory analysis of different PqsD complexes evidenced ligand-dependent induced-fit motions affecting the modified ACoA funnel access to the exposure of a secondary channel. A tunnel-network is formed in which Ser317 plays an important role by binding to both substrates. Mutagenesis experiments resulting in the inactive S317F mutant confirmed the importance of this residue. Two binding modes for β-ketodecanoic acid were identified with distinct catalytic mechanism preferences.
  • Ciprofloxacin-loaded lipid-core nanocapsules as mucus penetrating drug delivery system intended for the treatment of bacterial infections in cystic fibrosis.

    Torge, Afra; Wagner, Stefanie; Chaves, Paula S; Oliveira, Edilene G; Guterres, Silvia S; Pohlmann, Adriana R; Titz, Alexander; Schneider, Marc; Beck, Ruy C R; Helmholtz Institut für pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1, 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (2017-05-10)
    Treatment of bacterial airway infections is essential for cystic fibrosis therapy. However, effectiveness of antibacterial treatment is limited as bacteria inside the mucus are protected from antibiotics and immune response. To overcome this biological barrier, ciprofloxacin was loaded into lipid-core nanocapsules (LNC) for high mucus permeability, sustained release and antibacterial activity. Ciprofloxacin-loaded LNC with a mean size of 180nm showed a by 50% increased drug permeation through mucus. In bacterial growth assays, the drug in the LNC had similar minimum inhibitory concentrations as the free drug in P. aeruginosa and S. aureus. Interestingly, formation of biofilm-like aggregates, which were observed for S. aureus treated with free ciprofloxacin, was avoided by exposure to LNC. With the combined advantages over the non-encapsulated drug, ciprofloxacin-loaded LNC represent a promising drug delivery system with the prospect of an improved antibiotic therapy in cystic fibrosis.
  • Regulation of Burkholderia cenocepacia biofilm formation by RpoN and the c-di-GMP effector BerB.

    Fazli, Mustafa; Rybtke, Morten; Steiner, Elisabeth; Weidel, Elisabeth; Berthelsen, Jens; Groizeleau, Julie; Bin, Wu; Zhi, Boo Zhao; Yaming, Zhang; Kaever, Volkhard; Givskov, Michael; Hartmann, Rolf W.; Eberl, Leo; Tolker-Nielsen, Tim; Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1, 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (2017-04-16)
    Knowledge about the molecular mechanisms that are involved in the regulation of biofilm formation is essential for the development of biofilm-control measures. It is well established that the nucleotide second messenger cyclic diguanosine monophosphate (c-di-GMP) is a positive regulator of biofilm formation in many bacteria, but more knowledge about c-di-GMP effectors is needed. We provide evidence that c-di-GMP, the alternative sigma factor RpoN (σ54), and the enhancer-binding protein BerB play a role in biofilm formation of Burkholderia cenocepacia by regulating the production of a biofilm-stabilizing exopolysaccharide. Our findings suggest that BerB binds c-di-GMP, and activates RpoN-dependent transcription of the berA gene coding for a c-di-GMP-responsive transcriptional regulator. An increased level of the BerA protein in turn induces the production of biofilm-stabilizing exopolysaccharide in response to high c-di-GMP levels. Our findings imply that the production of biofilm exopolysaccharide in B. cenocepacia is regulated through a cascade involving two consecutive transcription events that are both activated by c-di-GMP. This type of regulation may allow tight control of the expenditure of cellular resources.
  • O-Alkylated heavy atom carbohydrate probes for protein X-ray crystallography: Studies towards the synthesis of methyl 2-O-methyl-L-selenofucopyranoside.

    Sommer, Roman; Hauck, Dirk; Varrot, Annabelle; Imberty, Anne; Künzler, Markus; Titz, Alexander; Helmholtz-Institute for Pharmaceutical Research Saarland (HIPS),Saarland Universitätscampus E8.1, 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (2016)
    Selenoglycosides are used as reactive glycosyl donors in the syntheses of oligosaccharides. In addition, such heavy atom analogs of natural glycosides are useful tools for structure determination of their lectin receptors using X-ray crystallography. Some lectins, e.g., members of the tectonin family, only bind to carbohydrate epitopes with O-alkylated ring hydroxy groups. In this context, we report the first synthesis of an O-methylated selenoglycoside, specifically methyl 2-O-methyl-L-selenofucopyranoside, a ligand of the lectin tectonin-2 from the mushroom Laccaria bicolor. The synthetic route required a strategic revision and further optimization due to the intrinsic lability of alkyl selenoglycosides, in particular for the labile fucose. Here, we describe a successful synthetic access to methyl 2-O-methyl-L-selenofucopyranoside in 9 linear steps and 26% overall yield starting from allyl L-fucopyranoside.

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