Intercepting Cyclic Dinucleotide Signaling with Small Molecules
Sintim, Herman O
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Bacterial infections, especially the ones that are caused by multidrug-resistant strains, are becoming increasingly difficult to treat and put enormous stress on healthcare systems. Recently President Obama announced a new initiative to combat the growing problem of antibiotic resistance. New types of antibiotic drugs are always in need to catch up with the rapid speed of bacterial drug-resistance acquisition. Bacterial second messengers, cyclic dinucleotides, play important roles in signal transduction and therefore are currently generating great buzz in the microbiology community because it is believed that small molecules that inhibit cyclic dinucleotide signaling could become next-generation antibacterial agents. The first identified cyclic dinucleotide, c-di-GMP, has now been shown to regulate a large number of processes, such as virulence, biofilm formation, cell cycle, quorum sensing, etc. Recently, another cyclic dinucleotide, c-di-AMP, has emerged as a regulator of key processes in Gram-positive and mycobacteria. C-di-AMP is now known to regulate DNA damage sensing, fatty acid synthesis, potassium ion transport, cell wall homeostasis and host type I interferon response induction. Due to the central roles that cyclic dinucleotides play in bacteria, we are interested in small molecules that intercept cyclic dinucleotide signaling with the hope that these molecules would help us learn more details about cyclic dinucleotide signaling or could be used to inhibit bacterial viability or virulence. This dissertation documents the development of several small molecule inhibitors of a cyclic dinucleotide synthase (DisA from B. subtilis) and phosphodiesterases (RocR from P. aeruginosa and CdnP from M. tuberculosis). We also demonstrate that an inhibitor of RocR PDE can inhibit bacterial swarming motility, which is a virulence factor.