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Anthrax is a highly lethal disease caused by the Gram-(+) bacteria Bacillus anthracis. Edema toxin (ET) is a major contributor to the pathogenesis of disease in humans exposed to B. anthracis. ET is a bipartite toxin composed of two proteins secreted by the vegetative bacteria, edema factor (EF) and protective antigen (PA). Our work towards identifying a small molecule inhibitor of anthrax edema factor is the subject of this letter. First we demonstrate that the small molecule probe 5'-Fluorosulfonylbenzoyl 5'-adenosine (FSBA) reacts irreversibly with EF and blocks enzymatic activity. We then show that the adenosine portion of FSBA can be replaced to provide more drug-like molecules which are up to 1000-fold more potent against EF relative to FSBA, display low cross reactivity when tested against a panel of kinases, and are nanomolar inhibitors of EF in a cell-based assay of cAMP production. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Guan-Sheng Jiao, Seongjin Kim, Mahtab Moayeri, April Thai, Lynne Cregar-Hernandez, Linda McKasson, Sean O'Malley, Stephen H Leppla, Alan T Johnson. Small molecule inhibitors of anthrax edema factor. Bioorganic & medicinal chemistry letters. 2017 Nov 24

PMID: 29198864

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