Inhibition of the functional activity of Filamenting temperature-sensitive mutant Z (FtsZ) protein, an essential and highly conserved bacterial cytokinesis protein, is a promising approach for the development of a new class of antibacterial agents. Berberine, a benzylisoquinoline alkaloid widely used in traditional Chinese and native American medicines for its antimicrobial properties, has been recently reported to inhibit FtsZ. Using a combination of in silico structure-based design and in vitro biological assays, 9-phenoxyalkyl berberine derivatives were identified as potent FtsZ inhibitors. Compared to the parent compound berberine, the derivatives showed a significant enhancement of antibacterial activity against clinically relevant bacteria, and an improved potency against the GTPase activity and polymerization of FtsZ. The most potent compound 2 strongly inhibited the proliferation of Gram-positive bacteria, including methicillin-resistant S. aureus and vancomycin-resistant E. faecium, with MIC values between 2 and 4 μg/mL, and was active against the Gram-negative E. coli and K. pneumoniae, with MIC values of 32 and 64 mg/mL respectively. The compound perturbed the formation of cytokinetic Z-ring in E. coli. Also, the compound interfered with in vitro polymerization of S. aureus FtsZ. Taken together, the chemical modification of berberine with 9-phenoxyalkyl substituent groups greatly improved the antibacterial activity via targeting FtsZ.
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)