Molecular cell

Mode of Action of Kanglemycin A, an Ansamycin Natural Product that Is Active against Rifampicin-Resistant Mycobacterium tuberculosis.

PMID 30244835


Antibiotic-resistant bacterial pathogens pose an urgent healthcare threat, prompting a demand for new medicines. We report the mode of action of the natural ansamycin antibiotic kanglemycin A (KglA). KglA binds bacterial RNA polymerase at the rifampicin-binding pocket but maintains potency against RNA polymerases containing rifampicin-resistant mutations. KglA has antibiotic activity against rifampicin-resistant Gram-positive bacteria and multidrug-resistant Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MDR-M. tuberculosis). The X-ray crystal structures of KglA with the Escherichia coli RNA polymerase holoenzyme and Thermus thermophilus RNA polymerase-promoter complex reveal an altered-compared with rifampicin-conformation of KglA within the rifampicin-binding pocket. Unique deoxysugar and succinate ansa bridge substituents make additional contacts with a separate, hydrophobic pocket of RNA polymerase and preclude the formation of initial dinucleotides, respectively. Previous ansa-chain modifications in the rifamycin series have proven unsuccessful. Thus, KglA represents a key starting point for the development of a new class of ansa-chain derivatized ansamycins to tackle rifampicin resistance.