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Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2007 Jul;51(7):2445-53. Epub 2007 May 14.

Dual targeting of DNA gyrase and topoisomerase IV: target interactions of heteroaryl isothiazolones in Staphylococcus aureus.

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  • 1Achillion Pharmaceuticals, New Haven, CT 06511, USA.


Heteroaryl isothiazolones (HITZs) are antibacterial agents that display excellent in vitro activity against Staphylococcus aureus. We recently identified a series of these compounds that show potent bactericidal activities against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). We report here the results of in vitro resistance studies that reveal potential underlying mechanisms of action. HITZs selected gyrA mutations exclusively in first-step mutants of wild-type S. aureus, indicating that in contrast to the case with most quinolones, DNA gyrase is the primary target. The compounds displayed low mutation frequencies (10(-9) to 10(-10)) at concentrations close to the MICs and maintained low MICs (< or =0.016 microg/ml) against mutants with single mutations in either gyrA or grlA (parC). These data suggested that HITZs possess significant inhibitory activities against target enzymes, DNA gyrase and topoisomerase IV. This dual-target inhibition was supported by low 50% inhibitory concentrations against topoisomerase IV as measured in a decatenation activity assay and against DNA gyrase as measured in a supercoiling activity assay. Good antibacterial activities (< or =1 microg/ml) against staphylococcal gyrA grlA double mutants, as well as low frequencies (10(-9) to 10(-10)) of selection of still higher-level mutants, also suggested that HITZs remained active against mutant enzymes. We further demonstrated that HITZs exhibit good inhibition of both S. aureus mutant enzymes and thus continue to possess a novel dual-targeting mode of action against these mutant strains. In stepwise acquisition of mutations, HITZs selected quinolone resistance determining region mutations gyrA(Ser84Leu), grlA(Ser80Phe), grlA(Ala116Val), and gyrA(Glu88Lys) sequentially, suggesting that the corresponding amino acids are key amino acids involved in the binding of HITZs to topoisomerases. The overall profile of these compounds suggests the potential utility of HITZs in combating infections caused by S. aureus, including multidrug-resistant MRSA.

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