The human PXR (pregnane X receptor), a master regulator of drug metabolism, has essential roles in intestinal homeostasis and abrogating inflammation. Existing PXR ligands have substantial off-target toxicity. Based on prior work that established microbial (indole) metabolites as PXR ligands, we proposed microbial metabolite mimicry as a novel strategy for drug discovery that allows exploiting previously unexplored parts of chemical space. Here, we report functionalized indole derivatives as first-in-class non-cytotoxic PXR agonists as a proof of concept for microbial metabolite mimicry. The lead compound, FKK6 (Felix Kopp Kortagere 6), binds directly to PXR protein in solution, induces PXR-specific target gene expression in cells, human organoids, and mice. FKK6 significantly represses pro-inflammatory cytokine production cells and abrogates inflammation in mice expressing the human PXR gene. The development of FKK6 demonstrates for the first time that microbial metabolite mimicry is a viable strategy for drug discovery and opens the door to underexploited regions of chemical space.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Medicine