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Bioorg Med Chem. 2006 Dec 1;14(23):7953-61. Epub 2006 Aug 17.

Discovery of novel inhibitors of the ZipA/FtsZ complex by NMR fragment screening coupled with structure-based design.

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Structural Biology and Computational Chemistry, Wyeth Research, Cambridge, MA 02140, USA.


ZipA is a membrane anchored protein in Escherichia coli that interacts with FtsZ, a homolog of eukaryotic tubulins, forming a septal ring structure that mediates bacterial cell division. Thus, the ZipA/FtsZ protein-protein interaction is a potential target for an antibacterial agent. We report here an NMR-based fragment screening approach which identified several hits that bind to the C-terminal region of ZipA. The screen was performed by 1H-15N HSQC experiments on a library of 825 fragments that are small, lead-like, and highly soluble. Seven hits were identified, and the binding mode of the best one was revealed in the X-ray crystal structure. Similar to the ZipA/FtsZ contacts, the driving force in the binding of the small molecule ligands to ZipA is achieved through hydrophobic interactions. Analogs of this hit were also evaluated by NMR and X-ray crystal structures of these analogs with ZipA were obtained, providing structural information to help guide the medicinal chemistry efforts.

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