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Aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases (aaRSs) are crucial for the correct assembly of amino acids to cognate tRNA to maintain the fidelity of proteosynthesis. AaRSs have become a hot target in antimicrobial research. Three aaRS inhibitors are already in clinical practice; antibacterial mupirocin inhibits the synthetic site of isoleucyl-tRNA synthetase, antifungal tavaborole inhibits the editing site of leucyl-tRNA synthetase, and antiprotozoal halofuginone inhibits proline-tRNA synthetase. According to the World Health Organization, tuberculosis globally remains the leading cause of death from a single infectious agent. The rising incidence of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis is alarming and urges the search for new antimycobacterial compounds, preferably with yet unexploited mechanism of action. In this literature review, we have covered the up-to-date state in the field of inhibitors of mycobacterial aaRSs. The most studied aaRS in mycobacteria is LeuRS with at least four structural types of inhibitors, followed by TyrRS and AspRS. Inhibitors of MetRS, LysRS, and PheRS were addressed in a single significant study each. In many cases, the enzyme inhibition activity translated into micromolar or submicromolar inhibition of growth of mycobacteria. The most promising aaRS inhibitor as an antimycobacterial compound is GSK656 (compound 8), the only aaRS inhibitor in clinical trials (Phase IIa) for systemic use against tuberculosis. GSK656 is orally available and shares the oxaborole tRNA-trapping mechanism of action with antifungal tavaborole. Copyright © 2021 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Ghada Bouz, Jan Zitko. Inhibitors of aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases as antimycobacterial compounds: An up-to-date review. Bioorganic chemistry. 2021 May;110:104806

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PMID: 33799176

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