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J Am Chem Soc. 2017 Dec 6;139(48):17221-17224. doi: 10.1021/jacs.7b07736. Epub 2017 Nov 22.

The Antibiotic Novobiocin Binds and Activates the ATPase That Powers Lipopolysaccharide Transport.

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Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Harvard University , Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138, United States.
Department of Microbiology, The Ohio State University , Columbus, Ohio 43210, United States.
Department of Chemistry, Massachusetts Institute of Technology , Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139, United States.


Novobiocin is an orally active antibiotic that inhibits DNA gyrase by binding the ATP-binding site in the ATPase subunit. Although effective against Gram-positive pathogens, novobiocin has limited activity against Gram-negative organisms due to the presence of the lipopolysaccharide-containing outer membrane, which acts as a permeability barrier. Using a novobiocin-sensitive Escherichia coli strain with a leaky outer membrane, we identified a mutant with increased resistance to novobiocin. Unexpectedly, the mutation that increases novobiocin resistance was not found to alter gyrase, but the ATPase that powers lipopolysaccharide (LPS) transport. Co-crystal structures, biochemical, and genetic evidence show novobiocin directly binds this ATPase. Novobiocin does not bind the ATP binding site but rather the interface between the ATPase subunits and the transmembrane subunits of the LPS transporter. This interaction increases the activity of the LPS transporter, which in turn alters the permeability of the outer membrane. We propose that novobiocin will be a useful tool for understanding how ATP hydrolysis is coupled to LPS transport.

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