Brunner K, Steiner EM, Reshma RS, Sriram D, Schnell R, Schneider G
Bioorg. Med. Chem. Lett. 27 (19) 4582-4587 [2017-10-01; online 2017-08-19]
CysK1 and CysK2 are two members of the cysteine/S-sulfocysteine synthase family in Mycobacterium tuberculosis, responsible for the de novo biosynthesis of l-cysteine, which is subsequently used as a building block for mycothiol. This metabolite is the first line defense of this pathogen against reactive oxygen and nitrogen species released by host macrophages after phagocytosis. In a previous medicinal chemistry campaign we had developed urea-based inhibitors of the cysteine synthase CysM with bactericidal activity against dormant M. tuberculosis. In this study we extended these efforts by examination of the in vitro activities of a library consisting of 71 urea compounds against CysK1 and CysK2. Binding was established by fluorescence spectroscopy and inhibition by enzyme assays. Several of the compounds inhibited these two cysteine synthases, with the most potent inhibitor displaying an IC50 value of 2.5µM for CysK1 and 6.6µM for CysK2, respectively. Four of the identified molecules targeting CysK1 and CysK2 were also among the top ten inhibitors of CysM, suggesting that potent compounds could be developed with activity against all three enzymes.