In Silico Screen Identifies a New Family of Agonists for the Bacterial Mechanosensitive Channel MscL

Robin Wray, Paul Blount, Junmei Wang, Irene Iscla

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

MscL is a highly conserved mechanosensitive channel found in the majority of bacterial species, including pathogens. It functions as a biological emergency release valve, jettisoning solutes from the cytoplasm upon acute hypoosmotic stress. It opens the largest known gated pore and has been heralded as an antibacterial target. Although there are no known endogenous ligands, small compounds have recently been shown to specifically bind to and open the channel, leading to decreased cell growth and viability. Their binding site is at the cytoplasmic/membrane and subunit interfaces of the protein, which has been recently been proposed to play an essential role in channel gating. Here, we have targeted this pocket using in silico screening, resulting in the discovery of a new family of compounds, distinct from other known MscL-specific agonists. Our findings extended the study of this functional region, the progression of MscL as a viable drug target, and demonstrated the power of in silico screening for identifying and improving the design of MscL agonists.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number433
JournalAntibiotics
Volume11
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2022

Keywords

  • antibiotic resistance
  • bacterial channels
  • bacterial drug target

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Biochemistry
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Pharmacology (medical)

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