Antimicrobial agents and chemotherapy

Discovery and characterization of QPT-1, the progenitor of a new class of bacterial topoisomerase inhibitors.

PMID 18519725


QPT-1 was discovered in a compound library by high-throughput screening and triage for substances with whole-cell antibacterial activity. This totally synthetic compound is an unusual barbituric acid derivative whose activity resides in the (-)-enantiomer. QPT-1 had activity against a broad spectrum of pathogenic, antibiotic-resistant bacteria, was nontoxic to eukaryotic cells, and showed oral efficacy in a murine infection model, all before any medicinal chemistry optimization. Biochemical and genetic characterization showed that the QPT-1 targets the beta subunit of bacterial type II topoisomerases via a mechanism of inhibition distinct from the mechanisms of fluoroquinolones and novobiocin. Given these attributes, this compound represents a promising new class of antibacterial agents. The success of this reverse genomics effort demonstrates the utility of exploring strategies that are alternatives to target-based screens in antibacterial drug discovery.