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Iron is essential for the pathogenicity and virulence of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, which synthesises salicyl-capped siderophores (mycobactins) to acquire this element from the host. MbtA is the adenylating enzyme that catalyses the initial reaction of mycobactin biosynthesis and is solely expressed by mycobacteria. A 3200-member library comprised of lead-like, structurally diverse compounds was screened against M. tuberculosis for whole-cell inhibitory activity. A set of 846 compounds that inhibited the tubercle bacilli growth were then tested for their ability to bind to MbtA using a fluorescence-based thermal shift assay and NMR-based Water-LOGSY and saturation transfer difference (STD) experiments. We identified an attractive hit molecule, 5-hydroxyindol-3-ethylamino-(2-nitro-4-trifluoromethyl)benzene (5), that bound with high affinity to MbtA and produced a MIC90 value of 13 μm. The ligand was docked into the MbtA crystal structure and displayed an excellent fit within the MbtA active pocket, adopting a binding mode different from that of the established MbtA inhibitor Sal-AMS. © 2019 Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.


Lindsay Ferguson, Geoff Wells, Sanjib Bhakta, James Johnson, Junitta Guzman, Tanya Parish, Robin A Prentice, Federico Brucoli. Integrated Target-Based and Phenotypic Screening Approaches for the Identification of Anti-Tubercular Agents That Bind to the Mycobacterial Adenylating Enzyme MbtA. ChemMedChem. 2019 Oct 04;14(19):1735-1741

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PMID: 31454170

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