Effective GTP-Replacing FtsZ Inhibitors and Antibacterial Mechanism of Action

ACS Chem. Biol., 2014, DOI: 10.1021/cb500974d, 10 (3), pp 834–843 published on 08.12.2014
ACS Chem. Biol., online article
Essential cell division protein FtsZ is considered an attractive target in the search for antibacterials with novel mechanisms of action to overcome the resistance problem. FtsZ undergoes GTP-dependent assembly at midcell to form the Z-ring, a dynamic structure that evolves until final constriction of the cell. Therefore, molecules able to inhibit its activity will eventually disrupt bacterial viability. In this work, we report a new series of small molecules able to replace GTP and to specifically inhibit FtsZ, blocking the bacterial division process. These new synthesized inhibitors interact with the GTP-binding site of FtsZ (Kd = 0.4–0.8 μM), display antibacterial activity against Gram-positive pathogenic bacteria, and show selectivity against tubulin. Biphenyl derivative 28 stands out as a potent FtsZ inhibitor (Kd = 0.5 μM) with high antibacterial activity [MIC (MRSA) = 7 μM]. In-depth analysis of the mechanism of action of compounds 22, 28, 33, and 36 has revealed that they act as effective inhibitors of correct FtsZ assembly, blocking bacterial division and thus leading to filamentous undivided cells. These findings provide a compelling rationale for the development of compounds targeting the GTP-binding site as antibacterial agents and open the door to antibiotics with novel mechanisms of action.

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