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Infect Immun. 2010 Nov;78(11):4683-90. doi: 10.1128/IAI.01305-09. Epub 2010 Sep 7.

Small molecule inhibitors of LcrF, a Yersinia pseudotuberculosis transcription factor, attenuate virulence and limit infection in a murine pneumonia model.

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Paratek Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Boston, MA 02111, USA.


LcrF (VirF), a transcription factor in the multiple adaptational response (MAR) family, regulates expression of the Yersinia type III secretion system (T3SS). Yersinia pseudotuberculosis lcrF-null mutants showed attenuated virulence in tissue culture and animal models of infection. Targeting of LcrF offers a novel, antivirulence strategy for preventing Yersinia infection. A small molecule library was screened for inhibition of LcrF-DNA binding in an in vitro assay. All of the compounds lacked intrinsic antibacterial activity and did not demonstrate toxicity against mammalian cells. A subset of these compounds inhibited T3SS-dependent cytotoxicity of Y. pseudotuberculosis toward macrophages in vitro. In a murine model of Y. pseudotuberculosis pneumonia, two compounds significantly reduced the bacterial burden in the lungs and afforded a dramatic survival advantage. The MAR family of transcription factors is well conserved, with members playing central roles in pathogenesis across bacterial genera; thus, the inhibitors could have broad applicability.

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