American Chemical Society
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Facile Synthesis and Metabolic Incorporation of m‑DAP Bioisosteres Into Cell Walls of Live Bacteria

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posted on 2020-10-20, 15:37 authored by Alexis J. Apostolos, Julia M. Nelson, José Rogério A. Silva, Jerônimo Lameira, Alecia M. Achimovich, Andreas Gahlmann, Cláudio N. Alves, Marcos M. Pires
Bacterial cell walls contain peptidoglycan (PG), a scaffold that provides proper rigidity to resist lysis from internal osmotic pressure and a barrier to protect cells against external stressors. It consists of repeating sugar units with a linkage to a stem peptide that becomes cross-linked by cell wall transpeptidases (TP). While synthetic PG fragments containing l-lysine in the third position on the stem peptide are easier to access, those with meso-diaminopimelic acid (m-DAP) pose a severe synthetic challenge. Herein, we describe a solid phase synthetic scheme based on widely available building blocks to assemble meso-cystine (m-CYT), which mimics key structural features of m-DAP. To demonstrate proper mimicry of m-DAP, cell wall probes were synthesized with m-CYT in place of m-DAP and evaluated for their metabolic processing in live bacterial cells. We found that m-CYT-based cell wall probes were properly processed by TPs in various bacterial species that endogenously contain m-DAP in their PG. Additionally, we have used hybrid quantum mechanical/molecular mechanical (QM/MM) and molecular dynamics (MD) simulations to explore the influence of m-DAP analogs on the PG cross-linking. The results showed that the cross-linking mechanism of transpeptidases occurred through a concerted process. We anticipate that this strategy, which is based on the use of inexpensive and commercially available building blocks, can be widely adopted to provide greater accessibility of PG mimics for m-DAP containing organisms.