Antibiotics2016, 5(3), 22; doi:10.3390/antibiotics5030022 (registering DOI) - published 24 June 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The machinery of translation is one of the most common targets of antibiotics. The development and screening of new antibiotics usually proceeds by testing antimicrobial activity followed by laborious studies of the mechanism of action. High-throughput methods for new antibiotic screening based on antimicrobial activity have become routine; however, identification of molecular targets is usually a challenge. Therefore, it is highly beneficial to combine primary screening with the identification of the mechanism of action. In this review, we describe a collection of methods for screening translation inhibitors, with a special emphasis on methods which can be performed in a high-throughput manner.
Abstract: Bacterial biofilm is an emerging clinical problem recognized in the treatment of infectious diseases within the last two decades. The appearance of microbial biofilm in clinical settings is steadily increasing due to several reasons including the increased use of quality of life-improving artificial devices. In contrast to infections caused by planktonic bacteria that respond relatively well to standard antibiotic therapy, biofilm-forming bacteria tend to cause chronic infections whereby infections persist despite seemingly adequate antibiotic therapy. This review briefly describes the responses of biofilm matrix components and biofilm-associated bacteria towards sub-lethal concentrations of antimicrobial agents, which may include the generation of genetic and phenotypic variabilities. Clinical implications of bacterial biofilms in relation to antibiotic treatments are also discussed.
Abstract: Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcus) is an important pathogen responsible for acute invasive and non-invasive infections such as meningitis, sepsis and otitis media, being the major cause of community-acquired pneumonia. The fight against pneumococcus is currently hampered both by insufficient vaccine coverage and by rising antimicrobial resistances to traditional antibiotics, making necessary the research on novel targets. Choline binding proteins (CBPs) are a family of polypeptides found in pneumococcus and related species, as well as in some of their associated bacteriophages. They are characterized by a structural organization in two modules: a functional module (FM), and a choline-binding module (CBM) that anchors the protein to the choline residues present in the cell wall through non-covalent interactions. Pneumococcal CBPs include cell wall hydrolases, adhesins and other virulence factors, all playing relevant physiological roles for bacterial viability and virulence. Moreover, many pneumococcal phages also make use of hydrolytic CBPs to fulfill their infectivity cycle. Consequently, CBPs may play a dual role for the development of novel antipneumococcal drugs, both as targets for inhibitors of their binding to the cell wall and as active cell lytic agents (enzybiotics). In this article, we review the current state of knowledge about host- and phage-encoded pneumococcal CBPs, with a special focus on structural issues, together with their perspectives for effective anti-infectious treatments.
Abstract: Chloramphenicol (CAM) is the D-threo isomer of a small molecule, consisting of a p-nitrobenzene ring connected to a dichloroacetyl tail through a 2-amino-1,3-propanediol moiety. CAM displays a broad-spectrum bacteriostatic activity by specifically inhibiting the bacterial protein synthesis. In certain but important cases, it also exhibits bactericidal activity, namely against the three most common causes of meningitis, Haemophilus influenzae, Streptococcus pneumoniae and Neisseria meningitidis. Resistance to CAM has been frequently reported and ascribed to a variety of mechanisms. However, the most important concerns that limit its clinical utility relate to side effects such as neurotoxicity and hematologic disorders. In this review, we present previous and current efforts to synthesize CAM derivatives with improved pharmacological properties. In addition, we highlight potentially broader roles of these derivatives in investigating the plasticity of the ribosomal catalytic center, the main target of CAM.
Abstract: The bacteriostatic aminoglycoside antibiotic kasugamycin inhibits protein synthesis at an initial step without affecting translation elongation. It binds to the mRNA track of the ribosome and prevents formation of the translation initiation complex on canonical mRNAs. In contrast, translation of leaderless mRNAs continues in the presence of the drug in vivo. Previously, we have shown that kasugamycin treatment in E. coli stimulates the formation of protein-depleted ribosomes that are selective for leaderless mRNAs. Here, we provide evidence that prolonged kasugamycin treatment leads to selective synthesis of specific proteins. Our studies indicate that leaderless and short-leadered mRNAs are generated by different molecular mechanisms including alternative transcription and RNA processing. Moreover, we provide evidence for ribosome heterogeneity in response to kasugamycin treatment by alteration of the modification status of the stalk proteins bL7/L12.
Abstract: Many antibiotics target the ribosome and interfere with its translation cycle. Since translation is the source of all cellular proteins including ribosomal proteins, protein synthesis and ribosome assembly are interdependent. As a consequence, the activity of translation inhibitors might indirectly cause defective ribosome assembly. Due to the difficulty in distinguishing between direct and indirect effects, and because assembly is probably a target in its own right, concepts are needed to identify small molecules that directly inhibit ribosome assembly. Here, we summarize the basic facts of ribosome targeting antibiotics. Furthermore, we present an in vivo screening strategy that focuses on ribosome assembly by a direct fluorescence based read-out that aims to identify and characterize small molecules acting as primary assembly inhibitors.