Scientific reports

Insights into structure and activity of natural compound inhibitors of pneumolysin.

PMID 28165051


Pneumolysin is the one of the major virulence factor of the bacterium Streptococcus pneumoniae. In previous report, it is shown that β-sitosterol, a natural compound without antimicrobial activity, is a potent antagonist of pneumolysin. Here, two new pneumolysin natural compound inhibitors, with differential activity, were discovered via haemolysis assay. To explore the key factor of the conformation for the inhibition activity, the interactions between five natural compound inhibitors with differential activity and pneumolysin were reported using molecular modelling, the potential of mean force profiles. Interestingly, it is found that incorporation of the single bond (C22-C23-C24-C25) to replace the double bond (hydrocarbon sidechain) improved the anti-haemolytic activity. In view of the molecular modelling, binding of the five inhibitors to the conserved loop region (Val372, Leu460, and Tyr461) of the cholesterol binding sites led to stable complex systems, which was consistent with the result of β-sitosterol. Owing to the single bond (C22-C23-C24-C25), campesterol and brassicasterol could form strong interactions with Val372 and show higher anti-haemolytic activity, which indicated that the single bond (C22-C23-C24-C25) in inhibitors was required for the anti-haemolytic activity. Overall, the current molecular modelling work provides a starting point for the development of rational design and higher activity pneumolysin inhibitors.

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Campesterol, ~65%