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Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2011 May;55(5):2042-53. doi: 10.1128/AAC.01250-10. Epub 2011 Feb 28.

Identification of pyruvate kinase in methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus as a novel antimicrobial drug target.

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Department of Medicine, Centre for High-Throughput Biology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.


Novel classes of antimicrobials are needed to address the challenge of multidrug-resistant bacteria such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Using the architecture of the MRSA interactome, we identified pyruvate kinase (PK) as a potential novel drug target based upon it being a highly connected, essential hub in the MRSA interactome. Structural modeling, including X-ray crystallography, revealed discrete features of PK in MRSA, which appeared suitable for the selective targeting of the bacterial enzyme. In silico library screening combined with functional enzymatic assays identified an acyl hydrazone-based compound (IS-130) as a potent MRSA PK inhibitor (50% inhibitory concentration [IC50] of 0.1 μM) with >1,000-fold selectivity over human PK isoforms. Medicinal chemistry around the IS-130 scaffold identified analogs that more potently and selectively inhibited MRSA PK enzymatic activity and S. aureus growth in vitro (MIC of 1 to 5 μg/ml). These novel anti-PK compounds were found to possess antistaphylococcal activity, including both MRSA and multidrug-resistant S. aureus (MDRSA) strains. These compounds also exhibited exceptional antibacterial activities against other Gram-positive genera, including enterococci and streptococci. PK lead compounds were found to be noncompetitive inhibitors and were bactericidal. In addition, mutants with significant increases in MICs were not isolated after 25 bacterial passages in culture, indicating that resistance may be slow to emerge. These findings validate the principles of network science as a powerful approach to identify novel antibacterial drug targets. They also provide a proof of principle, based upon PK in MRSA, for a research platform aimed at discovering and optimizing selective inhibitors of novel bacterial targets where human orthologs exist, as leads for anti-infective drug development.

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