Discovery of Antibacterials That Inhibit Bacterial RNA Polymerase Interactions with Sigma Factors

Jiqing Ye, Adrian Jun Chu, Rachel Harper, Shu Ting Chan, Tsun Lam Shek, Yufeng Zhang, Margaret Ip, Mariya Sambir, Irina Artsimovitch, Zhong Zuo, Xiao Yang, Cong Ma (Corresponding Author)

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Formation of a bacterial RNA polymerase (RNAP) holoenzyme by a catalytic core RNAP and a sigma (σ) initiation factor is essential for bacterial viability. As the primary binding site for the housekeeping σ factors, the RNAP clamp helix domain represents an attractive target for novel antimicrobial agent discovery. Previously, we designed a pharmacophore model based on the essential amino acids of the clamp helix, such as R278, R281, and I291 (Escherichia coli numbering), and identified hit compounds with antimicrobial activity that interfered with the core-σ interactions. In this work, we rationally designed and synthesized a class of triaryl derivatives of one hit compound and succeeded in drastically improving the antimicrobial activity against Streptococcus pneumoniae, with the minimum inhibitory concentration reduced from 256 to 1 μg/mL. Additional characterization of antimicrobial activity, inhibition of transcription, in vitro pharmacological properties, and cytotoxicity of the optimized compounds demonstrated their potential for further development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7695-7720
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Medicinal Chemistry
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - 23 Jul 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Drug Discovery


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