Zetterström CE, Uusitalo P, Qian W, Hinch S, Caraballo R, Grundström C, Elofsson M
SLAS DISCOVERY: Advancing Life Sciences R&D 23 (8) 815-822 [2018-09-00; online 2018-04-09]
Acetaldehyde dehydrogenase (AdhE) is a bifunctional acetaldehyde-coenzyme A (CoA) dehydrogenase and alcohol dehydrogenase involved in anaerobic metabolism in gram-negative bacteria. This enzyme was recently found to be a key regulator of the type three secretion (T3S) system in Escherichia coli. AdhE inhibitors can be used as tools to study bacterial virulence and a starting point for discovery of novel antibacterial agents. We developed a robust enzymatic assay, based on the acetaldehyde-CoA dehydrogenase activity of AdhE using both absorption and fluorescence detection models (Z' > 0.7). This assay was used to screen ~11,000 small molecules in 384-well format that resulted in three hits that were confirmed by resynthesis and validation. All three compounds are noncompetitive with respect to acetaldehyde and display a clear dose-response effect with hill slopes of 1-2. These new inhibitors will be used as chemical tools to study the interplay between metabolism and virulence and the role of AdhE in T3S regulation in gram-negative bacteria, and as starting points for the development of novel antibacterial agents.
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