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Bioorg Med Chem. 2016 Dec 15;24(24):6379-6389. doi: 10.1016/j.bmc.2016.06.044. Epub 2016 Jun 23.

A Gestalt approach to Gram-negative entry.

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LL Silver Consulting, LLC, 3403 Park Pl, Springfield, NJ 07081, United States. Electronic address:


A major obstacle confronting the discovery and development of new antibacterial agents to combat resistant Gram-negative (GN) organisms is the lack of a rational process for endowing compounds with properties that allow (or promote) entry into the bacterial cytoplasm. The major permeability difference between GN and Gram-positive (GP) bacteria is the GN outer membrane (OM) which is a permeability barrier itself and potentiates efflux pumps that expel compounds. Based on the fact that OM-permeable and efflux-deleted GNs are sensitive to many anti-GP drugs, recent efforts to approach the GN entry problem have focused on ways of avoiding efflux and transiting or compromising the OM, with the tacit assumption that this could allow entry of compounds into the GN cytoplasm. But bypassing the OM and efflux obstacles does not take into account the additional requirement of penetrating the cytoplasmic membrane (CM) whose sieving properties appear to be orthogonal to that of the OM. That is, tailoring compounds to transit the OM may well compromise their ability to enter the cytoplasm. Thus, a Gestalt approach to understanding the chemical requirements for GN entry seems a useful adjunct. This might consist of characterizing compounds which reach the cytoplasm, grouping (or binning) by routes of entry and formulating chemical 'rules' for those bins. This will require acquisition of data on large numbers of compounds, using non-activity-dependent methods of measuring accumulation in the cytoplasm.


Antibacterial agents; Binning; Gram-negative entry; Physicochemical characteristics

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