Nusbiarylins, a new class of antimicrobial agents: Rational design of bacterial transcription inhibitors targeting the interaction between the NusB and NusE proteins

Yangyi Qiu, Shu Ting Chan, Lin Lin, Tsun Lam Shek, Tsz Fung Tsang, Yufeng Zhang, Margaret Ip, Paul Kay sheung Chan, Nicolas Blanchard, Gilles Hanquet, Zhong Zuo, Xiao Yang, Cong Ma

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Discovery of antibiotics of a novel mode of action is highly required in the fierce battlefield with multi-drug resistant bacterial infections. Previously we have validated the protein-protein interaction between bacterial NusB and NusE proteins as an unprecedented antimicrobial target and reported the identification of a first-in-class inhibitor of bacterial ribosomal RNA synthesis with antimicrobial activities. In this paper, derivatives of the hit compound were rationally designed based on the pharmacophore model for chemical synthesis, followed by biological evaluations. Some of the derivatives demonstrated the improved antimicrobial activity with the minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) at 1–2 μg/mL against clinically significant bacterial pathogens. Time-kill kinetics, confocal microscope, ATP production, cytotoxicity, hemolytic property and cell permeability using Caco-2 cells of a representative compound were also measured. This series of compounds were named “nusbiarylins” based on their target protein NusB and the biaryl structure and were expected to be further developed towards novel antimicrobial drug candidates in the near future.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103203
JournalBioorganic Chemistry
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2019


  • Antimicrobial activity
  • Bacterial transcription
  • Inhibitor
  • NusB
  • Protein-protein interaction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Drug Discovery
  • Organic Chemistry

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