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Chem Biol. 2011 Jun 24;18(6):685-98. doi: 10.1016/j.chembiol.2011.04.007.

Traffic jam at the bacterial sec translocase: targeting the SecA nanomotor by small-molecule inhibitors.

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Laboratory of Bacteriology, Rega Institute for Medical Research, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, 3000 Leuven, Belgium.


The rapid rise of drug-resistant bacteria is one of the most serious unmet medical needs facing the world. Despite this increasing problem of antibiotic resistance, the number of different antibiotics available for the treatment of serious infections is dwindling. Therefore, there is an urgent need for new antibacterial drugs, preferably with novel modes of action to potentially avoid cross-resistance with existing antibacterial agents. In recent years, increasing attention has been paid to bacterial protein secretion as a potential antibacterial target. Among the different protein secretion pathways that are present in bacterial pathogens, the general protein secretory (Sec) pathway is widely considered as an attractive target for antibacterial therapy. One of the key components of the Sec pathway is the peripheral membrane ATPase SecA, which provides the energy for the translocation of preproteins across the bacterial cytoplasmic membrane. In this review, we will provide an overview of research efforts on the discovery and development of small-molecule SecA inhibitors. Furthermore, recent advances on the structure and function of SecA and their potential impact on antibacterial drug discovery will be discussed.

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