Istituto di Cristallografia - CNR

Targeting Siderophore-Mediated Iron Uptake in M. abscessus: A New Strategy to Limit the Virulence of Non-Tuberculous Mycobacteria

Targeting pathogenic mechanisms, rather than essential processes, represents a very attractive approach for the development of new antimycobacterial drugs. In this context, iron acquisition routes have recently emerged as potentially druggable pathways. However, the importance of siderophore biosynthesis in the virulence and pathogenicity of M. abscessus (Mab) is still poorly understood. In this study, we investigated the Salicylate Synthase (SaS) of Mab as an innovative molecular target for the development of inhibitors of siderophore production. Notably, Mab-SaS does not have any counterpart in human cells, making it an interesting candidate for drug discovery. Starting from the analysis of the binding of a series of furan-based derivatives, previously identified by our group as inhibitors of MbtI from M. tuberculosis (Mtb), we successfully selected the lead compound 1, exhibiting a strong activity against Mab-SaS (IC ? 5 µM). Computational studies characterized the key interactions between 1 and the enzyme, highlighting the important roles of Y387, G421, and K207, the latter being one of the residues involved in the first step of the catalytic reaction. These results support the hypothesis that 5-phenylfuran-2-carboxylic acids are also a promising class of Mab-SaS inhibitors, paving the way for the optimization and rational design of more potent derivatives.

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Mori M.; Stelitano G.; Cazzaniga G.; Gelain A.; Tresoldi A.; Cocorullo M.; Roversi M.; Chiarelli L.R.; Tomaiuolo M.; Delre P.; Mangiatordi G.F.; Griego A.; Rizzello L.; Cassetta A.; Covaceuszach S.; Villa S.; Meneghetti F.