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Title: Gut microbiota metabolite indole propionic acid targets tryptophan biosynthesis in Mycobacterium tuberculosis
Authors: Negatu, D.A.
Yamada, Y. 
Xi, Y.
Go, M.L. 
Zimmerman, M.
Ganapathy, U.
Dartois, V.
Gengenbacher, M.
Dick, T.
Keywords: Allosteric inhibitor
Tryptophan mimic
Issue Date: 2019
Publisher: American Society for Microbiology
Citation: Negatu, D.A., Yamada, Y., Xi, Y., Go, M.L., Zimmerman, M., Ganapathy, U., Dartois, V., Gengenbacher, M., Dick, T. (2019). Gut microbiota metabolite indole propionic acid targets tryptophan biosynthesis in Mycobacterium tuberculosis. mBio 10 (2) : e02781-18. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Rights: Attribution 4.0 International
Abstract: Indole propionic acid (IPA), produced by the gut microbiota, is active against Mycobacterium tuberculosis in vitro and in vivo. However, its mechanism of action is unknown. IPA is the deamination product of tryptophan (Trp) and thus a close structural analog of this essential aromatic amino acid. De novo Trp biosynthesis in M. tuberculosis is regulated through feedback inhibition: Trp acts as an allosteric inhibitor of anthranilate synthase TrpE, which catalyzes the first committed step in the Trp biosynthesis pathway. Hence, we hypothesized that IPA may mimic Trp as an allosteric inhibitor of TrpE and exert its antimicrobial effect by blocking synthesis of Trp at the TrpE catalytic step. To test our hypothesis, we carried out metabolic, chemical rescue, genetic, and biochemical analyses. Treatment of mycobacteria with IPA inhibited growth and reduced the intracellular level of Trp, an effect abrogated upon supplementation of Trp in the medium. Missense mutations at the allosteric Trp binding site of TrpE eliminated Trp inhibition and caused IPA resistance. In conclusion, we have shown that IPA blocks Trp biosynthesis in M. tuberculosis via inhibition of TrpE by mimicking the physiological allosteric inhibitor of this enzyme. IMPORTANCE New drugs against tuberculosis are urgently needed. The tryptophan (Trp) analog indole propionic acid (IPA) is the first antitubercular metabolite produced by human gut bacteria. Here, we show that this antibiotic blocks Trp synthesis, an in vivo essential biosynthetic pathway in M. tuberculosis. Intriguingly, IPA acts by decoupling a bacterial feedback regulatory mechanism: it mimics Trp as allosteric inhibitor of anthranilate synthase, thereby switching off Trp synthesis regardless of intracellular Trp levels. The identification of IPA’s target paves the way for the discovery of more potent TrpE ligands employing rational, target-based lead optimization. © 2019 Negatu et al.
Source Title: mBio
ISSN: 21612129
DOI: 10.1128/mBio.02781-18
Rights: Attribution 4.0 International
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