Identification and characterization of an inhibitor specific to bacterial NAD+-dependent DNA ligases

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DNA ligases are the enzymes essential for DNA replication, repair and recombination in all organisms. The bacterial DNA ligases involved in DNA replication require NAD+ for activity, but eukaryotic and viral DNA ligases require ATP. Because of their essential nature, unique structures and widespread existence in nature, bacterial DNA ligases represent a class of valuable targets for identifying novel and selective antibacterial agents. In this study, we cloned and expressed the ligA gene from Streptococcus pneumoniae, and characterized this ligA-encoded NAD+-dependent DNA ligase. We then screened small molecule chemical libraries using a biochemical assay and identified a new small molecule with a structure of 2,4-diamino-7-dimethylamino-pyrimido[4,5-d]pyrimidine. We show that this small molecule is a specific inhibitor of bacterial NAD+-dependent DNA ligases. Biochemical studies show that this molecule inhibits NAD+-dependent DNA ligases, but not ATP-dependent enzymes. The molecule inhibits NAD+-dependent DNA ligases competitively with respect to NAD+ and specifically inhibits enzyme adenylation, but not DNA adenylation or ligation. Labeling studies establish that this molecule inhibits the incorporation of thymidine into DNA and that overexpression of DNA ligase in the cell abolishes this inhibition. Finally, microbiological studies show that this molecule exhibits a broad spectrum of antibacterial activity. Together, this study shows that this small molecule inhibitor identified is specific to bacterial NAD+-dependent DNA ligases, exhibits a broad spectrum of antibacterial activities, and has the potential to be developed into an antibacterial agent.

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