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Journal articleLedger E, Lau K, Tate E, et al., 2023,
XerC is required for the repair of antibiotic- and immune-mediated DNA damage in staphylococcus aureus, Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, Vol: 67, Pages: 1-11, ISSN: 0066-4804
To survive in the host environment, pathogenic bacteria need to be able to repair DNA damage caused by both antibiotics and the immune system. The SOS response is a key bacterial pathway to repair DNA double-strand breaks and may therefore be a good target for novel therapeutics to sensitize bacteria to antibiotics and the immune response. However, the genes required for the SOS response in Staphylococcus aureus have not been fully established. Therefore, we carried out a screen of mutants involved in various DNA repair pathways to understand which were required for induction of the SOS response. This led to the identification of 16 genes that may play a role in SOS response induction and, of these, 3 that affected the susceptibility of S. aureus to ciprofloxacin. Further characterization revealed that, in addition to ciprofloxacin, loss of the tyrosine recombinase XerC increased the susceptibility of S. aureus to various classes of antibiotics, as well as to host immune defenses. Therefore, the inhibition of XerC may be a viable therapeutic approach to sensitize S. aureus to both antibiotics and the immune response.
Journal articleBubeck D, Couves E, Gardner S, et al., 2023,
Structural basis for membrane attack complex inhibition by CD59, Nature Communications, Vol: 14, Pages: 1-13, ISSN: 2041-1723
CD59 is an abundant immuno-regulatory receptor that protects human cells from damage during complement activation. Here we show how the receptor binds complement proteins C8 and C9 at the membrane to prevent insertion and polymerization of membrane attack complex (MAC) pores. We present cryo-electron microscopy structures of two inhibited MAC precursors known as C5b8 and C5b9. We discover that in both complexes, CD59 binds the pore-forming β-hairpins of C8 to form an intermolecular β-sheet that prevents membrane perforation. While bound to C8, CD59 deflects the cascading C9 β-hairpins, rerouting their trajectory into the membrane. Preventing insertion of C9 restricts structural transitions of subsequent monomers and indirectly halts MAC polymerization. We combine our structural data with cellular assays and molecular dynamics simulations to explain how the membrane environment impacts the dual roles of CD59 in controlling pore formation of MAC, and as a target of bacterial virulence factors which hijack CD59 to lyse human cells.
Journal articleYahiya S, Saunders CN, Hassan S, et al., 2023,
A novel class of sulphonamides potently block malaria transmission by targeting a Plasmodium vacuole membrane protein, Disease Models & Mechanisms, Vol: 16, Pages: 1-20, ISSN: 1754-8403
Phenotypic cell-based screens are critical tools for discovering candidate drugs for development, yet identification of the cellular target and mode of action of a candidate drug is often lacking. Using an imaging-based screen, we recently discovered an N-[(4-hydroxychroman-4-yl)methyl]-sulphonamide (N-4HCS) compound, DDD01035881, that blocks male gamete formation in the malaria parasite life cycle and subsequent transmission of the parasite to the mosquito with nanomolar activity. To identify the target(s) of DDD01035881, and of the N-4HCS class of compounds more broadly, we synthesised a photoactivatable derivative, probe 2. Photoaffinity labelling of probe 2 coupled with mass spectrometry identified the 16 kDa Plasmodium falciparum parasitophorous vacuole membrane protein Pfs16 as a potential parasite target. Complementary methods including cellular thermal shift assays confirmed that the parent molecule DDD01035881 stabilised Pfs16 in lysates from activated mature gametocytes. Combined with high-resolution, fluorescence and electron microscopy data, which demonstrated that parasites inhibited with N-4HCS compounds phenocopy the targeted deletion of Pfs16 in gametocytes, these data implicate Pfs16 as a likely target of DDD01035881. This finding establishes N-4HCS compounds as being flexible and effective starting candidates from which transmission-blocking antimalarials can be developed in the future.
Journal articleFedoryshchak R, Gorelik A, Shen M, et al., 2023,
Discovery of lipid-mediated protein–protein interactions in living cells using metabolic labeling with photoactivatable clickable probes, Chemical Science, Vol: 14, Pages: 2419-2430, ISSN: 2041-6520
Protein-protein interactions (PPIs) are essential and pervasive regulatory elements in cell biology. Despite development of a range of techniques to probe PPIs in living systems, there is a dearth of approaches to capture interactions driven by specific post-translational modifications (PTMs). Myristoylation is a lipid PTM added to more than 200 human proteins, where it may regulate membrane localization, stability or activity. Here we report design and synthesis of a panel of novel photocrosslinkable and clickable myristic acid analog probes, and their characterization as efficient substrates for human N -myristoyltransferases NMT1 and NMT2, both biochemically and through X-ray co-crystallography. We demonstrate metabolic incorporation of probes to label NMT substrates in cell culture and in situ intracellular photoactivation to form a covalent crosslink between modified proteins and their interactors, capturing a snapshot of interactions driven by the presence of the lipid PTM. Proteomic analyses revealed both known and multiple novel interactors of a series of myristoylated proteins, including ferroptosis suppressor protein FSP1 and spliceosome-associated RNA helicase DDX46. The concept exemplified by these probes offers an efficient approach for exploring the PTM-specific interactome, which may prove broadly applicable to other PTMs.
Journal articleZhang L, Lovell S, De Vita E, et al., 2022,
A KLK6 activity-based probe reveals a role for KLK6 activity in pancreatic cancer cell invasion, Journal of the American Chemical Society, Vol: 144, Pages: 22493-22504, ISSN: 0002-7863
Pancreatic cancer has the lowest survival rate of all common cancers due to late diagnosis and limited treatment options. Serine hydrolases are known to mediate cancer progression and metastasis through initiation of signaling cascades and cleavage of extracellular matrix proteins, and the kallikrein-related peptidase (KLK) family of secreted serine proteases have emerging roles in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC). However, the lack of reliable activity-based probes (ABPs) to profile KLK activity has hindered progress in validation of these enzymes as potential targets or biomarkers. Here, we developed potent and selective ABPs for KLK6 by using a positional scanning combinatorial substrate library and characterized their binding mode and interactions by X-ray crystallography. The optimized KLK6 probe IMP-2352 (kobs/I = 11,000 M–1 s–1) enabled selective detection of KLK6 activity in a variety of PDAC cell lines, and we observed that KLK6 inhibition reduced the invasiveness of PDAC cells that secrete active KLK6. KLK6 inhibitors were combined with N-terminomics to identify potential secreted protein substrates of KLK6 in PDAC cells, providing insights into KLK6-mediated invasion pathways. These novel KLK6 ABPs offer a toolset to validate KLK6 and associated signaling partners as targets or biomarkers across a range of diseases.
Journal articleBenns HJ, Storch M, Falco JA, et al., 2022,
CRISPR-based oligo recombineering prioritizes apicomplexan cysteines for drug discovery., Nat Microbiol
Nucleophilic amino acids are important in covalent drug development yet underutilized as anti-microbial targets. Chemoproteomic technologies have been developed to mine chemically accessible residues via their intrinsic reactivity towards electrophilic probes but cannot discern which chemically reactive sites contribute to protein function and should therefore be prioritized for drug discovery. To address this, we have developed a CRISPR-based oligo recombineering (CORe) platform to support the rapid identification, functional prioritization and rational targeting of chemically reactive sites in haploid systems. Our approach couples protein sequence and function with biological fitness of live cells. Here we profile the electrophile sensitivity of proteinogenic cysteines in the eukaryotic pathogen Toxoplasma gondii and prioritize functional sites using CORe. Electrophile-sensitive cysteines decorating the ribosome were found to be critical for parasite growth, with target-based screening identifying a parasite-selective anti-malarial lead molecule and validating the apicomplexan translation machinery as a target for ongoing covalent ligand development.
Journal articlePriyamvada L, Kallemeijn WW, Faronato M, et al., 2022,
Inhibition of vaccinia virus L1 N-myristoylation by the host N-myristoyltransferase inhibitor IMP-1088 generates non-infectious virions defective in cell entry, PLoS Pathogens, Vol: 18, ISSN: 1553-7366
We have recently shown that the replication of rhinovirus, poliovirus and foot-and-mouth disease virus requires the co-translational N-myristoylation of viral proteins by human host cell N-myristoyltransferases (NMTs), and is inhibited by treatment with IMP-1088, an ultrapotent small molecule NMT inhibitor. Here, we examine the importance of N-myristoylation during vaccinia virus (VACV) infection in primate cells and demonstrate the anti-poxviral effects of IMP-1088. N-myristoylated proteins from VACV and the host were metabolically labelled with myristic acid alkyne during infection using quantitative chemical proteomics. We identified VACV proteins A16, G9 and L1 to be N-myristoylated. Treatment with NMT inhibitor IMP-1088 potently abrogated VACV infection, while VACV gene expression, DNA replication, morphogenesis and EV formation remained unaffected. Importantly, we observed that loss of N-myristoylation resulted in greatly reduced infectivity of assembled mature virus particles, characterized by significantly reduced host cell entry and a decline in membrane fusion activity of progeny virus. While the N-myristoylation of VACV entry proteins L1, A16 and G9 was inhibited by IMP-1088, mutational and genetic studies demonstrated that the N-myristoylation of L1 was the most critical for VACV entry. Given the significant genetic identity between VACV, monkeypox virus and variola virus L1 homologs, our data provides a basis for further investigating the role of N-myristoylation in poxviral infections as well as the potential of selective NMT inhibitors like IMP-1088 as broad-spectrum poxvirus inhibitors.
Journal articleZhang Q, Kounde C, Mondal M, et al., 2022,
Light-mediated multi-target protein degradation using arylazopyrazole photoswitchable PROTACs (AP-PROTACs), Chemical Communications, Vol: 58, Pages: 10933-10936, ISSN: 1359-7345
Light-activable spatiotemporal control of PROTAC-induced protein degradation was achieved with novel arylazopyrazole photoswitchable PROTACs (AP-PROTACs). The use of a promiscuous kinase inhibitor in the design enables this unique photoswitchable PROTAC to selectively degrade four protein kinases together with on/off optical control using different wavelengths of light.
Journal articleWilliams D, Mahmoud M, Liu R, et al., 2022,
Stable flow-induced expression of KLK10 inhibits endothelial inflammation and atherosclerosis., eLife, Vol: 11, Pages: 1-23, ISSN: 2050-084X
Atherosclerosis preferentially occurs in arterial regions exposed to disturbed blood flow (d-flow), while regions exposed to stable flow (s-flow) are protected. The proatherogenic and atheroprotective effects of d-flow and s-flow are mediated in part by the global changes in endothelial cell gene expression, which regulates endothelial dysfunction, inflammation, and atherosclerosis. Previously, we identified Kallikrein-Related Peptidase 10 (Klk10, a secreted serine protease) as a flow-sensitive gene in mouse arterial endothelial cells, but its role in endothelial biology and atherosclerosis was unknown. Here, we show that KLK10 is upregulated under s-flow conditions and downregulated under d-flow conditions using in vivo& mouse models and in vitro studies with cultured endothelial cells (ECs). Single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNAseq) and scATAC sequencing (scATACseq) study using the partial carotid ligation mouse model showed flow-regulated Klk10 expression at the epigenomic and transcription levels. Functionally, KLK10 protected against d-flow-induced permeability dysfunction and inflammation in human artery ECs (HAECs), as determined by NFkB activation, expression of vascular cell adhesion molecule 1 (VCAM1) and intracellular adhesion molecule 1 (ICAM1), and monocyte adhesion. Further, treatment of mice in vivo with rKLK10 decreased arterial endothelial inflammation in d-flow regions. Additionally, rKLK10 injection or ultrasound-mediated transfection of Klk10-expressing plasmids inhibited atherosclerosis in Apoe-/- mice. Moreover, KLK10 expression was significantly reduced in human coronary arteries with advanced atherosclerotic plaques compared to those with less severe plaques. KLK10 is a flow-sensitive endothelial protein that serves as an anti-inflammatory, barrier-protective, and anti-atherogenic factor.
Journal articleMondal M, Conole D, Nautiyal J, et al., 2022,
UCHL1 as a novel target in breast cancer: emerging insights from cell and chemical biology, British Journal of Cancer, Vol: 126, Pages: 24-33, ISSN: 0007-0920
Breast cancer has the highest incidence and death rate among cancers in women worldwide. In particular, metastatic Estrogen Receptor negative (ER–) breast cancer and Triple-Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC) subtypes have very limited treatment options, with low survival rates. Ubiquitin carboxyl terminal hydrolase L1 (UCHL1), a ubiquitin C-terminal hydrolase belonging to the deubiquitinase (DUB) family of enzymes, is highly expressed in these cancer types, and several key reports have revealed emerging and important roles for UCHL1 in breast cancer. However, selective and potent small molecule UCHL1 inhibitors have been disclosed only very recently, alongside chemical biology approaches to detect regulated UHCL1 activity in cancer cells. These tools will enable novel insights into oncogenic mechanisms driven by UCHL1, and identification of substrate proteins deubiquitinated by UCHL1, with the ultimate goal of realizing the potential of UCHL1 as a drug target in breast cancer.
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