Inhibition of Protein Secretion in Escherichia coli and Sub-MIC Effects of Arylomycin Antibiotics.


Department of Chemistry, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, California, USA [Email]


At sufficient concentrations, antibiotics effectively eradicate many bacterial infections. However, during therapy, bacteria are unavoidably exposed to lower antibiotic concentrations, and sub-MIC exposure can result in a wide variety of other effects, including the induction of virulence, which can complicate therapy, or horizontal gene transfer (HGT), which can accelerate the spread of resistance genes. Bacterial type I signal peptidase (SPase) is an essential protein that acts at the final step of the general secretory pathway. This pathway is required for the secretion of many proteins, including many required for virulence, and the arylomycins are a class of natural product antibiotics that target SPase. Here, we investigated the consequences of exposing Escherichia coli cultures to sub-MIC levels of an arylomycin. Using multidimensional protein identification technology mass spectrometry, we found that arylomycin treatment inhibits the proper extracytoplasmic localization of many proteins, both those that appear to be SPase substrates and several that do not. The identified proteins are involved in a broad range of extracytoplasmic processes and include a number of virulence factors. The effects of arylomycin on several processes required for virulence were then individually examined, and we found that, at even sub-MIC levels, the arylomycins potently inhibit flagellation, motility, biofilm formation, and the dissemination of antibiotic resistance via HGT. Thus, we conclude that the arylomycins represent promising novel therapeutics with the potential to eradicate infections while simultaneously reducing virulence and the dissemination of resistance.


antibiotic resistance,antibiotics,drug design,secretion,signal peptidase,

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