Antibiotic-resistant strains of Staphylococcus aureus pose a major threat to human health and there is an ongoing need for new antibiotics to treat resistant infections. In a high throughput screen (HTS) of 230 000 small molecules designed to identify bioactive wall teichoic acid (WTA) inhibitors, we identified one hit, which was expanded through chemical synthesis into a small panel of potent compounds. We showed that these compounds target TarG, the transmembrane component of the two-component ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporter TarGH, which exports WTA precursors to the cell surface for attachment to peptidoglycan. We purified, for the first time, a WTA transporter and have reconstituted ATPase activity in proteoliposomes. We showed that this new compound series inhibits TarH-catalyzed ATP hydrolysis even though the binding site maps to TarG near the opposite side of the membrane. These are the first ABC transporter inhibitors shown to block ATPase activity by binding to the transmembrane domain. The compounds have potential as therapeutic agents to treat S. aureus infections, and purification of the transmembrane transporter will enable further development.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Colloid and Surface Chemistry