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Mechanism of Fluorinated Anthranilate-Induced Growth Inhibition in Mycobacterium tuberculosis

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journal contribution
posted on 08.11.2018, 00:00 by M. Nurul Islam, Reese Hitchings, Santosh Kumar, Fabio L. Fontes, J. Shaun Lott, Nicole A. Kruh-Garcia, Dean C. Crick
The biosynthesis of tryptophan in Mycobacterium tuberculosis is initiated by the transformation of chorismate to anthranilate, catalyzed by anthranilate synthase (TrpE/TrpG). Five additional enzymes are required to complete tryptophan biosynthesis. M. tuberculosis strains auxotrophic for tryptophan, an essential amino acid in the human diet, are avirulent. Thus, tryptophan synthesis in M. tuberculosis has been suggested as a potential drug target, and it has been reported that fluorinated anthranilate is lethal to the bacillus. Two mechanisms that could explain the cellular toxicity were tested: (1) the inhibition of tryptophan biosynthesis by a fluorinated intermediate or (2) formation of fluorotryptophan and its subsequent effects. Here, M. tuberculosis mc2 6230 cultures were treated with anthranilates fluorinated at positions 4, 5, and 6. These compounds inhibited bacterial growth on tryptophan-free media with 4-fluoroanthranilate being more potent than 5-fluoroanthranilate or 6-fluoroanthranilate. LC-MS based analysis of extracts from bacteria treated with these compounds did not reveal accumulation of any of the expected fluorinated intermediates in tryptophan synthesis. However, in all cases, significant levels of fluorotryptophan were readily observed, suggesting that the enzymes involved in the conversion of fluoro-anthranilate to fluorotryptophan were not being inhibited. Inclusion of tryptophan in cultures treated with the fluoro-anthranilates obviated the cellular toxicity. Bacterial growth was also inhibited in a dose-dependent manner by exposure to tryptophan substituted with fluorine at positions 5 or 6. Thus, the data suggest that fluorotryptophan rather than fluoro-anthranilate or intermediates in the synthesis of fluorotryptophan causes the inhibition of M. tuberculosis growth.