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Nature Chemical Biology - AOP - science feeds

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Discovery of MRSA active antibiotics using primary sequence from the human microbiome


Here we present a natural product discovery approach, whereby structures are bioinformatically predicted from primary sequence and produced by chemical synthesis (synthetic-bioinformatic natural products, syn-BNPs), circumventing the need for bacterial culture and gene expression. When we applied the approach to nonribosomal peptide synthetase gene clusters from human-associated bacteria, we identified the humimycins. These antibiotics inhibit lipid II flippase and potentiate β-lactam activity against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus in mice, potentially providing a new treatment regimen.

Structural basis of nonribosomal peptide macrocyclization in fungi


Nonribosomal peptide synthetases (NRPSs) in fungi biosynthesize important pharmaceutical compounds, including penicillin, cyclosporine and echinocandin. To understand the fungal strategy of forging the macrocyclic peptide linkage, we determined the crystal structures of the terminal condensation-like (CT) domain and the holo thiolation (T)-CT complex of Penicillium aethiopicum TqaA. The first, to our knowledge, structural depiction of the terminal module in a fungal NRPS provides a molecular blueprint for generating new macrocyclic peptide natural products.

Serine is a new target residue for endogenous ADP-ribosylation on histones


ADP-ribosylation (ADPr) is a biologically and clinically important post-translational modification, but little is known about the amino acids it targets on cellular proteins. Here we present a proteomic approach for direct in vivo identification and quantification of ADPr sites on histones. We have identified 12 unique ADPr sites in human osteosarcoma cells and report serine ADPr as a new type of histone mark that responds to DNA damage.

Cbr1 is a Dph3 reductase required for the tRNA wobble uridine modification


Diphthamide and the tRNA wobble uridine modifications both require diphthamide biosynthesis 3 (Dph3) protein as an electron donor for the iron-sulfur clusters in their biosynthetic enzymes. Here, using a proteomic approach, we identified Saccharomyces cerevisiae cytochrome b5 reductase (Cbr1) as a NADH-dependent reductase for Dph3. The NADH- and Cbr1-dependent reduction of Dph3 may provide a regulatory linkage between cellular metabolic state and protein translation.

Thermal profiling reveals phenylalanine hydroxylase as an off-target of panobinostat


We describe a two-dimensional thermal proteome profiling strategy that can be combined with an orthogonal chemoproteomics approach to enable comprehensive target profiling of the marketed histone deacetylase inhibitor panobinostat. The N-hydroxycinnamide moiety is identified as critical for potent and tetrahydrobiopterin-competitive inhibition of phenylalanine hydroxylase leading to increases in phenylalanine and decreases in tyrosine levels. These findings provide a rationale for adverse clinical observations and suggest repurposing of the drug for treatment of tyrosinemia.

Carbon extension in peptidylnucleoside biosynthesis by radical SAM enzymes


Nikkomycins and polyoxins are antifungal peptidylnucleoside antibiotics active against human and plant pathogens. Here we report that during peptidylnucleoside biosynthesis in Streptomyces cacaoi and S. tendae, the C5′ extension of the nucleoside essential for downstream structural diversification is catalyzed by a conserved radical S-adenosyl-L-methionine (SAM) enzyme, PolH or NikJ. This is distinct from the nucleophilic mechanism reported for antibacterial nucleosides and represents a new mechanism of nucleoside natural product biosynthesis.

Compounds that select against the tetracycline-resistance efflux pump


We developed a competition-based screening strategy to identify compounds that invert the selective advantage of antibiotic resistance. Using our assay, we screened over 19,000 compounds for the ability to select against the TetA tetracycline-resistance efflux pump in Escherichia coli and identified two hits, β-thujaplicin and disulfiram. Treating a tetracycline-resistant population with β-thujaplicin selects for loss of the resistance gene, enabling an effective second-phase treatment with doxycycline.

How the glycosyltransferase OGT catalyzes amide bond cleavage


The essential human enzyme O-linked β-N-acetylglucosamine transferase (OGT), known for modulating the functions of nuclear and cytoplasmic proteins through serine and threonine glycosylation, was unexpectedly implicated in the proteolytic maturation of the cell cycle regulator host cell factor-1 (HCF-1). Here we show that HCF-1 cleavage occurs via glycosylation of a glutamate side chain followed by on-enzyme formation of an internal pyroglutamate, which undergoes spontaneous backbone hydrolysis.

Small-molecule WNK inhibition regulates cardiovascular and renal function


The With-No-Lysine (K) (WNK) kinases play a critical role in blood pressure regulation and body fluid and electrolyte homeostasis. Herein, we introduce the first orally bioavailable pan-WNK-kinase inhibitor, WNK463, that exploits unique structural features of the WNK kinases for both affinity and kinase selectivity. In rodent models of hypertension, WNK463 affects blood pressure and body fluid and electro-lyte homeostasis, consistent with WNK-kinase-associated physiology and pathophysiology.

Roger Y. Tsien 1952–2016


Roger Tsien left us on August 24. His untimely passing has saddened and shocked the scientific community. Roger literally and figuratively brightened our world, illuminated the dark matter of biology, and forever changed our view of the interface of chemistry and biology.