• Virtual Screening Against Carbohydrate-Binding Proteins: Evaluation and Application to Bacterial Burkholderia ambifaria Lectin.

      Dingjan, Tamir; Gillon, Émilie; Imberty, Anne; Pérez, Serge; Titz, Alexander; Ramsland, Paul A; Yuriev, Elizabeth; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (American Chemical Society, 2018-09-24)
      Bacterial adhesion to human epithelia via lectins constitutes a therapeutic opportunity to prevent infection. Specifically, BambL (the lectin from Burkholderia ambifaria) is implicated in cystic fibrosis, where lectin-mediated bacterial adhesion to fucosylated lung epithelia is suspected to play an important role. We employed structure-based virtual screening to identify inhibitors of BambL-saccharide interaction with potential therapeutic value. To enable such discovery, a virtual screening protocol was iteratively developed via 194 retrospective screening protocols against 4 bacterial lectins (BambL, BC2L-A, FimH, and LecA) with known ligands. Specific attention was given to the rigorous evaluation of retrospective screening, including calculation of analytical errors for enrichment metrics. The developed virtual screening workflow used crystallographic constraints, pharmacophore filters, and a final manual selection step. The protocol was applied to BambL, predicting 15 active compounds from virtual libraries of approximately 7 million compounds. Experimental validation using fluorescence polarization confirmed micromolar inhibitory activity for two compounds, which were further characterized by isothermal titration calorimetry and surface plasmon resonance. Subsequent testing against LecB from Pseudomonas aeruginosa demonstrated binding specificity of one of the hit compounds. This report demonstrates the utility of virtual screening protocols, integrating ligand-based pharmacophore filtering and structure-based constraints, in the search for bacterial lectin inhibitors.
    • Lectin antagonists in infection, immunity, and inflammation.

      Meiers, Joscha; Siebs, Eike; Zahorska, Eva; Titz, Alexander; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (Elsevier, 2019-08-27)
      Lectins are proteins found in all domains of life with a plethora of biological functions, especially in the infection process, immune response, and inflammation. Targeting these carbohydrate-binding proteins is challenged by the fact that usually low affinity interactions between lectin and glycoconjugate are observed. Nature often circumvents this process through multivalent display of ligand and lectin. Consequently, the vast majority of synthetic antagonists are multivalently displayed native carbohydrates. At the cost of disadvantageous pharmacokinetic properties and possibly a reduced selectivity for the target lectin, the molecules usually possess very high affinities to the respective lectin through ligand epitope avidity. Recent developments include the advent of glycomimetic or allosteric small molecule inhibitors for this important protein class and their use in chemical biology and drug research. This evolution has culminated in the transition of the small molecule GMI-1070 into clinical phase III. In this opinion article, an overview of the most important developments of lectin antagonists in the last two decades with a focus on the last five years is given
    • Induction of rare conformation of oligosaccharide by binding to calcium-dependent bacterial lectin: X-ray crystallography and modelling study.

      Lepsik, Martin; Sommer, Roman; Kuhaudomlarp, Sakonwan; Lelimousin, Mickaël; Paci, Emanuele; Varrot, Annabelle; Titz, Alexander; Imberty, Anne; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (Elsevier, 2019-09-01)
      Pathogenic micro-organisms utilize protein receptors (lectins) in adhesion to host tissues, a process that in some cases relies on the interaction between lectins and human glycoconjugates. Oligosaccharide epitopes are recognized through their three-dimensional structure and their flexibility is a key issue in specificity. In this paper, we analysed by X-ray crystallography the structures of the LecB lectin from two strains of Pseudomonas aeruginosa in complex with Lewis x oligosaccharide present on cell surfaces of human tissues. An unusual conformation of the glycan was observed in all binding sites with a non-canonical syn orientation of the N-acetyl group of N-acetyl-glucosamine. A PDB-wide search revealed that such an orientation occurs only in 4% of protein/carbohydrate complexes. Theoretical chemistry calculations showed that the observed conformation is unstable in solution but stabilised by the lectin. A reliable description of LecB/Lewis x complex by force field-based methods had proven especially challenging due to the special feature of the binding site, two closely apposed Ca2+ ions which induce strong charge delocalisation. By comparing various force-field parametrisations, we propose a general strategy which will be useful in near future for designing carbohydrate-based ligands (glycodrugs) against other calcium-dependent protein receptors.
    • Pathoblockers or antivirulence drugs as a new option for the treatment of bacterial infections

      Calvert, Matthew B; Jumde, Varsha R; Titz, Alexander
      The rapid development of antimicrobial resistance is threatening mankind to such an extent that the World Health Organization expects more deaths from infections than from cancer in 2050 if current trends continue. To avoid this scenario, new classes of anti-infectives must urgently be developed. Antibiotics with new modes of action are needed, but other concepts are also currently being pursued. Targeting bacterial virulence as a means of blocking pathogenicity is a promising new strategy for disarming pathogens. Furthermore, it is believed that this new approach is less susceptible towards resistance development. In this review, recent examples of anti-infective compounds acting on several types of bacterial targets, e.g., adhesins, toxins and bacterial communication, are described.
    • Efficient Two Step β-Glycoside Synthesis from -Acetyl -Glucosamine: Scope and Limitations of Copper(II) Triflate-Catalyzed Glycosylation

      Sommer, Roman; Hauck, Dirk; Titz, Alexander; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institute für pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1, 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany.
      β‐Linked glycosides of N‐acetyl glucosamine are widespread in nature. Their direct synthesis is hampered by the low reactivity of GlcNAc as a glycosyl donor. We report a selective and rapid copper(II) triflate‐catalyzed two‐step synthesis of β‐glycosides of GlcNAc from cheap GlcNAc as starting material without purification of intermediates. α‐Specific glycosylation can be achieved by increasing the amount of catalyst and extending reaction times.
    • 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.
    • 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)
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • Development of a competitive binding assay for the Burkholderia cenocepacia lectin BC2L-A and structure activity relationship of natural and synthetic inhibitors

      Beshr, Ghamdan; Sommer, Roman; Hauck, Dirk; Siebert, David Chan Bodin; Hofmann, Anna; Imberty, Anne; Titz, Alexander (2016)
    • The virulence factor LecB varies in clinical isolates: consequences for ligand binding and drug discovery

      Sommer, Roman; Wagner, Stefanie; Varrot, Annabelle; Nycholat, Corwin M.; Khaledi, Ariane; Häussler, Susanne; Paulson, James C.; Imberty, Anne; Titz, Alexander (2016)
    • Cinnamide Derivatives of d -Mannose as Inhibitors of the Bacterial Virulence Factor LecB from Pseudomonas aeruginosa

      Sommer, Roman; Hauck, Dirk; Varrot, Annabelle; Wagner, Stefanie; Audfray, Aymeric; Prestel, Andreas; Möller, Heiko M.; Imberty, Anne; Titz, Alexander; Helmholtz Institute for Pharmaceutical Research Saarland (HIPS);Saarland University, Building A4.1, 66123 Saarbruecken, Germany.; et al. (2015-12)
    • Synthesis of mannoheptose derivatives and their evaluation as inhibitors of the lectin LecB from the opportunistic pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

      Hofmann, Anna; Sommer, Roman; Hauck, Dirk; Stifel, Julia; Göttker-Schnetmann, Inigo; Titz, Alexander; hemical Biology of Carbohydrates, Helmholtz Institute for Pharmaceutical Research Saarland (HIPS), D-66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (2015-05-05)
      Biofilm formation and chronic infections with Pseudomonas aeruginosa depend on lectins produced by the bacterium. The bacterial C-type lectin LecB binds to the two monosaccharides l-fucose and d-mannose and conjugates thereof. Previously, d-mannose derivatives with amide and sulfonamide substituents at C6 were reported as potent inhibitors of the bacterial lectin LecB and LecB-mediated bacterial surface adhesion. Because d-mannose establishes a hydrogen bond via its 6-OH group with Ser23 of LecB in the crystal structure and may be beneficial for binding affinity, we extended d-mannose and synthesized mannoheptoses bearing the free 6-OH group as well as amido and sulfonamido-substituents at C7. Two series of diastereomeric mannoheptoses were synthesized and the stereochemistry was determined by X-ray crystallography. The potency of the mannoheptoses as LecB inhibitors was assessed in a competitive binding assay. The data reveal a diastereoselectivity of LecB for (6S)-mannoheptose derivatives with increased activity over methyl α-d-mannoside.
    • New approaches to control infections: anti-biofilm strategies against gram-negative bacteria.

      Sommer, Roman; Joachim, Ines; Wagner, Stefanie; Titz, Alexander; University of Konstanz, Department of Chemistry and Zukunftskolleg, Universitätsstrasse 10, D-78457 Konstanz. (2013)
      Hospital-acquired bacterial infections, especially with Gram-negative pathogens, present a major threat due to the rapid spread of antibiotic-resistant strains. Targeting mechanisms of bacterial virulence has recently appeared as a promising new therapeutic paradigm. Biofilm formation is a bacterial lifestyle, which offers a survival advantage through its protective matrix against host immune defense and antibiotic treatment. Interfering with biogenesis of adhesive organelles, bacterial communication or carbohydrate-mediated adhesion as anti-biofilm strategies are reviewed.
    • Mimetics of Sialyl Lewis<SUP>x</SUP>: The Pre-Organization of the Carboxylic Acid is Essential for Binding to Selectins

      Titz, Alexander; Ernst, Beat; Helmholtz Institute for Pharmaceutical Research Saarland (HIPS), Campus C 2.3, D-66123, Saarbrücken, Germany (2014-12-05)
    • A Biophysical Study with Carbohydrate Derivatives Explains the Molecular Basis of Monosaccharide Selectivity of the Pseudomonas aeruginosa Lectin LecB.

      Sommer, Roman; Exner, Thomas E; Titz, Alexander; Helmholtz Institute for Pharmaceutical Research Saarland (HIPS), Campus C 2.3, D-66123, Saarbrücken, Germany; Department of Chemistry and Graduate School Chemical Biology, University of Konstanz, D-78457, Konstanz, Germany. (2014)
      The rise of resistances against antibiotics in bacteria is a major threat for public health and demands the development of novel antibacterial therapies. Infections with Pseudomonas aeruginosa are a severe problem for hospitalized patients and for patients suffering from cystic fibrosis. These bacteria can form biofilms and thereby increase their resistance towards antibiotics. The bacterial lectin LecB was shown to be necessary for biofilm formation and the inhibition with its carbohydrate ligands resulted in reduced amounts of biofilm. The natural ligands for LecB are glycosides of d-mannose and l-fucose, the latter displaying an unusual strong affinity. Interestingly, although mannosides are much weaker ligands for LecB, they do form an additional hydrogen bond with the protein in the crystal structure. To analyze the individual contributions of the methyl group in fucosides and the hydroxymethyl group in mannosides to the binding, we designed and synthesized derivatives of these saccharides. We report glycomimetic inhibitors that dissect the individual interactions of their saccharide precursors with LecB and give insight into the biophysics of binding by LecB. Furthermore, theoretical calculations supported by experimental thermodynamic data suggest a perturbed hydrogen bonding network for mannose derivatives as molecular basis for the selectivity of LecB for fucosides. Knowledge gained on the mode of interaction of LecB with its ligands at ambient conditions will be useful for future drug design.
    • Caenorhabditis elegans N-glycan core beta-galactoside confers sensitivity towards nematotoxic fungal galectin CGL2.

      Butschi, Alex; Titz, Alexander; Wälti, Martin A; Olieric, Vincent; Paschinger, Katharina; Nöbauer, Katharina; Guo, Xiaoqiang; Seeberger, Peter H; Wilson, Iain B H; Aebi, Markus; et al. (2010-01)
      The physiological role of fungal galectins has remained elusive. Here, we show that feeding of a mushroom galectin, Coprinopsis cinerea CGL2, to Caenorhabditis elegans inhibited development and reproduction and ultimately resulted in killing of this nematode. The lack of toxicity of a carbohydrate-binding defective CGL2 variant and the resistance of a C. elegans mutant defective in GDP-fucose biosynthesis suggested that CGL2-mediated nematotoxicity depends on the interaction between the galectin and a fucose-containing glycoconjugate. A screen for CGL2-resistant worm mutants identified this glycoconjugate as a Galbeta1,4Fucalpha1,6 modification of C. elegans N-glycan cores. Analysis of N-glycan structures in wild type and CGL2-resistant nematodes confirmed this finding and allowed the identification of a novel putative glycosyltransferase required for the biosynthesis of this glycoepitope. The X-ray crystal structure of a complex between CGL2 and the Galbeta1,4Fucalpha1,6GlcNAc trisaccharide at 1.5 A resolution revealed the biophysical basis for this interaction. Our results suggest that fungal galectins play a role in the defense of fungi against predators by binding to specific glycoconjugates of these organisms.