• 2-Aminothiazole Derivatives as Selective Allosteric Modulators of the Protein Kinase CK2. 2. Structure-Based Optimization and Investigation of Effects Specific to the Allosteric Mode of Action.

      Bestgen, Benoît; Kufareva, Irina; Seetoh, Weiguang; Abell, Chris; Hartmann, Rolf W; Abagyan, Ruben; Le Borgne, Marc; Filhol, Odile; Cochet, Claude; Lomberget, Thierry; Engel, Matthias; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (American Chemical Society, 2019-02-28)
      Protein CK2 has gained much interest as an anticancer drug target in the past decade. We had previously described the identification of a new allosteric site on the catalytic α-subunit, along with first small molecule ligands based on the 4-(4-phenylthiazol-2-ylamino)benzoic acid scaffold. In the present work, structure optimizations guided by a binding model led to the identification of the lead compound 2-hydroxy-4-((4-(naphthalen-2-yl)thiazol-2-yl)amino)benzoic acid (27), showing a submicromolar potency against purified CK2α (IC
    • Energy‐Coupling Factor Transporters as Novel Antimicrobial Targets

      Bousis, Spyridon; Diamanti, Eleonora; Slotboom, Dirk J.; Hirsch, Anna K. H.; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (Wiley-Blackwell, 2019-02)
      In an attempt to find new antibiotics, novel ways of interfering with important biological functions should be explored, especially with those which are necessary or even irreplaceable for bacterial survival, growth, and virulence. The purpose of this review is to highlight B‐type vitamin transporters from the energy‐coupling factor (ECF) family, which are not present in humans, as potential antimicrobial targets. In addition, a druggability analysis of an ECF transporter for folic acid and sequence‐conservation studies in seven prominent pathogens revealed new druggable pockets. Evaluation of the presence of de novo biosynthetic routes for the vitamins in question in the seven pathogens confirmed that this target class holds promise for the discovery of antimicrobial drugs with a new mechanism of action, possibly on a broad‐spectrum level.
    • Aspherical and Spherical InvA497-Functionalized Nanocarriers for Intracellular Delivery of Anti-Infective Agents.

      Castoldi, Arianna; Empting, Martin; De Rossi, Chiara; Mayr, Karsten; Dersch, Petra; Hartmann, Rolf; Müller, Rolf; Gordon, Sarah; Lehr, Claus-Michael; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (Springer, 2018-12-05)
      The objective of this work was to evaluate the potential of polymeric spherical and aspherical invasive nanocarriers, loaded with antibiotic, to access and treat intracellular bacterial infections. Aspherical nanocarriers were prepared by stretching of spherical precursors, and both aspherical and spherical nanocarriers were surface-functionalized with the invasive protein InvA497. The relative uptake of nanocarriers into HEp-2 epithelial cells was then assessed. Nanocarriers were subsequently loaded with a preparation of the non-permeable antibiotic gentamicin, and tested for their ability to treat HEp-2 cells infected with the enteroinvasive bacterium Shigella flexneri. InvA497-functionalized nanocarriers of both spherical and aspherical shape showed a significantly improved rate and extent of uptake into HEp-2 cells in comparison to non-functionalized nanocarriers. Functionalized and antibiotic-loaded nanocarriers demonstrated a dose dependent killing of intracellular S. flexneri. A slight but significant enhancement of intracellular bacterial killing was also observed with aspherical as compared to spherical functionalized nanocarriers at the highest tested concentration. InvA497-functionalized, polymer-based nanocarriers were able to efficiently deliver a non-permeable antibiotic across host cell membranes to affect killing of intracellular bacteria. Functionalized nanocarriers with an aspherical shape showed an interesting future potential for intracellular infection therapy.
    • Inhibitors of 17β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 1, 2 and 14: Structures, biological activities and future challenges.

      Salah, Mohamed; Abdelsamie, Ahmed S; Frotscher, Martin; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut füt Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (2018-10-15)
      During the past 25 years, the modulation of estrogen action by inhibition of 17β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase types 1 and 2 (17β-HSD1 and 17β-HSD2), respectively, has been pursued intensively. In the search for novel treatment options for estrogen-dependent diseases (EDD) and in order to explore estrogenic signaling pathways, a large number of steroidal and nonsteroidal inhibitors of these enzymes has been described in the literature. The present review gives a survey on the development of inhibitor classes as well as the structural formulas and biological properties of their most interesting representatives. In addition, rationally designed dual inhibitors of both 17β-HSD1 and steroid sulfatase (STS) as well as the first inhibitors of 17β-HSD14 are covered.
    • Exploration of ligand binding modes towards the identification of compounds targeting HuR: a combined STD-NMR and Molecular Modelling approach.

      Vasile, Francesca; Della Volpe, Serena; Ambrosio, Francesca Alessandra; Costa, Giosuè; Unver, M Yagiz; Zucal, Chiara; Rossi, Daniela; Martino, Emanuela; Provenzani, Alessandro; Hirsch, Anna K H; Alcaro, Stefano; Potenza, Donatella; Collina, Simona; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut füt Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (2018-09-13)
      Post-transcriptional processes have been recognised as pivotal in the control of gene expression, and impairments in RNA processing are reported in several pathologies (i.e., cancer and neurodegeneration). Focusing on RNA-binding proteins (RBPs), the involvement of Embryonic Lethal Abnormal Vision (ELAV) or Hu proteins and their complexes with target mRNAs in the aetiology of various dysfunctions, has suggested the great potential of compounds able to interfere with the complex stability as an innovative pharmacological strategy for the treatment of numerous diseases. Here, we present a rational follow-up investigation of the interaction between ELAV isoform HuR and structurally-related compounds (i.e., flavonoids and coumarins), naturally decorated with different functional groups, by means of STD-NMR and Molecular Modelling. Our results represent the foundation for the development of potent and selective ligands able to interfere with ELAV-RNA complexes.
    • Biophysical Screening of a Focused Library for the Discovery of CYP121 Inhibitors as Novel Antimycobacterials.

      Brengel, Christian; Thomann, Andreas; Schifrin, Alexander; Allegretta, Giuseppe; Kamal, Ahmed A M; Haupenthal, Jörg; Schnorr, Isabell; Cho, Sang Hyun; Franzblau, Scott G; Empting, Martin; Eberhard, Jens; Hartmann, Rolf W; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus 8.1, 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (2017-10-09)
      The development of novel antimycobacterial agents against Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) is urgently required due to the appearance of multidrug resistance (MDR) combined with complicated long-term treatment. CYP121 was shown to be a promising novel target for inhibition of mycobacterial growth. In this study, we describe the rational discovery of new CYP121 inhibitors by a systematic screening based on biophysical and microbiological methods. The best hits originating from only one structural class gave initial information about molecular motifs required for binding and activity. The initial screening procedure was followed by mode-of-action studies and further biological characterizations. The results demonstrate superior antimycobacterial efficacy and a decreased toxicity profile of our frontrunner compound relative to the reference compound econazole. Due to its low molecular weight, promising biological profile, and physicochemical properties, this compound is an excellent starting point for further rational optimization.
    • Delivery system for budesonide based on lipid-DNA.

      Liu, Yun; Bos, I Sophie T; Oenema, Tjitske A; Meurs, Herman; Maarsingh, Harm; Hirsch, Anna K H; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus 8.1, 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (2018-09-01)
      Budesonide is a hydrophobic glucocorticoid with high anti-inflammatory activity for the treatment of asthma, inflammatory bowel disease and rheumatoid arthritis. A micellar drug-delivery system based on lipid-DNA may provide a strategy to maximize its drug efficacy and reduce adverse effects. In this work, we report the use of lipid-DNAA (UU11mer), featuring two hydrophobic alkyl chains and forming micelles at a comparatively low critical micelle concentration, to render budesonide water-soluble with a high loading capacity (LC). The inhibition of interleukin-8 (IL-8) release shows that the new delivery system retains the inhibitory activity in cell-based assays. In conclusion, this research provides a novel approach to formulate and administer budesonide in a non-invasive manner, which dramatically improves its water-solubility while retaining its bioavailability.
    • Extracellular vesicles protect glucuronidase model enzymes during freeze-drying.

      Frank, Julia; Richter, Maximilian; de Rossi, Chiara; Lehr, Claus-Michael; Fuhrmann, Kathrin; Fuhrmann, Gregor; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus 8.1, 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (2018-08-17)
      Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are natural nanoparticles that play important roles in intercellular communication and are increasingly studied for biosignalling, pathogenesis and therapy. Nevertheless, little is known about optimal conditions for their transfer and storage, and the potential impact on preserving EV-loaded cargoes. We present the first comprehensive stability assessment of different widely available types of EVs during various storage conditions including -80 °C, 4 °C, room temperature, and freeze-drying (lyophilisation). Lyophilisation of EVs would allow easy handling at room temperature and thus significantly enhance their expanded investigation. A model enzyme, β-glucuronidase, was loaded into different types of EVs derived from mesenchymal stem cells, endothelial cells and cancer cells. Using asymmetric flow field-flow fractionation we proved that the model enzyme is indeed stably encapsulated into EVs. When assessing enzyme activity as indicator for EV stability, and in comparison to liposomes, we show that EVs are intrinsically stable during lyophilisation, an effect further enhanced by cryoprotectants. Our findings provide new insight for exploring lyophilisation as a novel storage modality and we create an important basis for standardised and advanced EV applications in biomedical research.
    • Lipid-DNAs as Solubilizers of mTHPC.

      Liu, Yun; de Vries, Jan Willem; Liu, Qing; Hartman, Alwin M; Wieland, Gerhard D; Wieczorek, Sebastian; Börner, Hans G; Wiehe, Arno; Buhler, Eric; Stuart, Marc C A; Browne, Wesley R; Herrmann, Andreas; Hirsch, Anna K H; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus 8.1, 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (2018-01-19)
      Hydrophobic drug candidates require innovative formulation agents. We designed and synthesized lipid-DNA polymers containing varying numbers of hydrophobic alkyl chains. The hydrophobicity of these amphiphiles is easily tunable by introducing a defined number of alkyl chain-modified nucleotides during standard solid-phase synthesis of DNA using an automated DNA synthesizer. We observed that the resulting self-assembled micelles solubilize the poorly water-soluble drug, meta-tetra-hydroxyphenyl-chlorin (mTHPC) used in photodynamic therapy (PDT) with high loading concentrations and loading capacities. A cell viability study showed that mTHPC-loaded micelles exhibit good biocompatibility without irradiation, and high PDT efficacy upon irradiation. Lipid-DNAs provide a novel class of drug-delivery vehicle, and hybridization of DNA offers a potentially facile route for further functionalization of the drug-delivery system with, for instance, targeting or imaging moieties.
    • 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
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.