SB-224289 Antagonizes the Antifungal Mechanism of the Marine Depsipeptide Papuamide A

In order to expand the repertoire of antifungal compounds a novel, high-throughput phenotypic drug screen targeting fungal phosphatidylserine (PS) synthase (Cho1p) was developed based on antagonism of the toxin papuamide A (Pap-A). Pap-A is a cyclic depsipeptide that binds to PS in the membrane of wild-type Candida albicans, and permeabilizes its plasma membrane, ultimately causing cell death. Organisms with a homozygous deletion of the CHO1 gene (cho1ΔΔ) do not produce PS and are able to survive in the presence of Pap-A. Using this phenotype (i.e. resistance to Pap-A) as an indicator of Cho1p inhibition, we screened over 5,600 small molecules for Pap-A resistance and identified SB-224289 as a positive hit. SB-224289, previously reported as a selective human 5-HT1B receptor antagonist, also confers resistance to the similar toxin theopapuamide (TPap-A), but not to other cytotoxic depsipeptides tested. Structurally similar molecules and truncated variants of SB-224289 do not confer resistance to Pap-A, suggesting that the toxin-blocking ability of SB-224289 is very specific. Further biochemical characterization revealed that SB-224289 does not inhibit Cho1p, indicating that Pap-A resistance is conferred by another undetermined mechanism. Although the mode of resistance is unclear, interaction between SB-224289 and Pap-A or TPap-A suggests this screening assay could be adapted for discovering other compounds which could antagonize the effects of other environmentally- or medically-relevant depsipeptide toxins.

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