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Bifunctional Doscadenamides Activate Quorum Sensing in Gram-Negative Bacteria and Synergize with TRAIL to Induce Apoptosis in Cancer Cells

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journal contribution
posted on 03.03.2021, 14:03 authored by Xiao Liang, Qi-Yin Chen, Gustavo M. Seabra, Susan Matthew, Jason C. Kwan, Chenglong Li, Valerie J. Paul, Hendrik Luesch
New cyanobacteria-derived bifunctional analogues of doscadenamide A, a LasR-dependent quorum sensing (QS) activator in Pseudomonas aeruginosa, characterized by dual acylation of the pyrrolinone core structure and the pendant side chain primary amine to form an imide/amide hybrid are reported. The identities of doscadenamides B–J were confirmed through total synthesis and a strategic focused library with different acylation and unsaturation patterns was created. Key molecular interactions for binding with LasR and a functional response through mutation studies coupled with molecular docking were identified. The structure–activity relationships (SARs) were probed in various Gram-negative bacteria, including P. aeruginosa and Vibrio harveyi, indicating that the pyrrolinone-N acyl chain is critical for full agonist activity, while the other acyl chain is dispensable or can result in antagonist activity, depending on the bacterial system. Since homoserine lactone (HSL) quorum sensing activators have been shown to act in synergy with TRAIL to induce apoptosis in cancer cells, selected doscadenamides were tested in orthogonal eukaryotic screening systems. The most potent QS agonists, doscadenamides S10–S12, along with doscadenamides F and S4 with partial or complete saturation of the acyl side chains, exhibited the most pronounced synergistic effects with TRAIL in triple negative MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells. The overall correlation of the SAR with respect to prokaryotic and eukaryotic targets may hint at coevolutionary processes and intriguing host–bacteria relationships. The doscadenamide scaffold represents a non-HSL template for combination therapy with TRAIL pathway stimulators.