Colistin is a last-resort antibiotic for the treatment of multidrug resistant Gram-negative bacterial infections. Recently, a natural ent-beyerene diterpene was identified as a promising inhibitor of the enzyme responsible for colistin resistance mediated by lipid A aminoarabinosylation in Gram-negative bacteria, namely, ArnT (undecaprenyl phosphate-alpha-4-amino-4-deoxy-l-arabinose arabinosyl transferase). Here, semisynthetic analogues of hit were designed, synthetized, and tested against colistin-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa strains including clinical isolates to exploit the versatility of the diterpene scaffold. Microbiological assays coupled with molecular modeling indicated that for a more efficient colistin adjuvant activity, likely resulting from inhibition of the ArnT activity by the selected compounds and therefore from their interaction with the catalytic site of ArnT, an ent-beyerane scaffold is required along with an oxalate-like group at C-18/C-19 or a sugar residue at C-19 to resemble L-Ara4N. The ent-beyerane skeleton is identified for the first time as a privileged scaffold for further cost-effective development of valuable colistin resistance inhibitors.
Quaglio, D., Mangoni, M.L., Stefanelli, R., Corradi, S., Casciaro, B., Vergine, V., et al. (2020). Ent-Beyerane Diterpenes as a Key Platform for the Development of ArnT-Mediated Colistin Resistance Inhibitors. JOURNAL OF ORGANIC CHEMISTRY, 85(16), 10891-10901 [10.1021/acs.joc.0c01459].