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A Gut-Restricted Lithocholic Acid Analog as an Inhibitor of Gut Bacterial Bile Salt Hydrolases

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journal contribution
posted on 19.07.2021, 19:14 by Arijit A. Adhikari, Deepti Ramachandran, Snehal N. Chaudhari, Chelsea E. Powell, Wei Li, Megan D. McCurry, Alexander S. Banks, A. Sloan Devlin
Bile acids play crucial roles in host physiology by acting both as detergents that aid in digestion and as signaling molecules that bind to host receptors. Gut bacterial bile salt hydrolase (BSH) enzymes perform the gateway reaction leading to the conversion of host-produced primary bile acids into bacterially modified secondary bile acids. Small molecule probes that target BSHs will help elucidate the causal roles of these metabolites in host physiology. We previously reported the development of a covalent BSH inhibitor with low gut permeability. Here, we build on our previous findings and describe the development of a second-generation gut-restricted BSH inhibitor with enhanced potency, reduced off-target effects, and durable in vivo efficacy. Structure–activity relationship (SAR) studies focused on the bile acid core identified a compound, AAA-10, containing a C3-sulfonated lithocholic acid scaffold and an alpha-fluoromethyl ketone warhead as a potent pan-BSH inhibitor. This compound inhibits BSH activity in mouse and human fecal slurry, bacterial cultures, and purified BSH proteins and displays reduced toxicity against mammalian cells compared to first generation compounds. Oral administration of AAA-10 to wild-type mice for 5 days resulted in a decrease in the abundance of the secondary bile acids deoxycholic acid (DCA) and lithocholic acid (LCA) in the mouse GI tract with low systemic exposure of AAA-10, demonstrating that AAA-10 is an effective tool for inhibiting BSH activity and modulating bile acid pool composition in vivo.