Imidazopyridine Compounds Inhibit Mycobacterial Growth by Depleting ATP Levels


Theresa O'Malley, Torey Alling, Julie V. Early, Heather A. Wescott, Anuradha Kumar, Garrett C. Moraski, Marvin J. Miller, Thierry Masquelin, Philip A. Hipskind, Tanya Parish


Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy


The imidazopyridines are a promising new class of antitubercular agents with potent activity in vitro and in vivo. We isolated mutants of Mycobacterium tuberculosis resistant to a representative imidazopyridine; the mutants had large shifts (>20-fold) in MIC. Whole-genome sequencing revealed mutations in Rv1339, a hypothetical protein of unknown function. We isolated mutants resistant to three further compounds from the series; resistant mutants isolated from two of the compounds had single nucleotide polymorphisms in Rv1339 and resistant mutants isolated from the third compound had single nucleotide polymorphisms in QcrB, the proposed target for the series. All the strains were resistant to two compounds, regardless of the mutation, and a strain carrying the QcrB T313I mutation was resistant to all of the imidazopyridine derivatives tested, confirming cross-resistance. By monitoring pH homeostasis and ATP generation, we confirmed that compounds from the series were targeting QcrB; imidazopyridines disrupted pH homeostasis and depleted ATP, providing further evidence of an effect on the electron transport chain. A representative compound was bacteriostatic against replicating bacteria, consistent with a mode of action against QcrB. The series had a narrow inhibitory spectrum, with no activity against other bacterial species. No synergy or antagonism was seen with other antituberculosis drugs under development. In conclusion, our data support the hypothesis that the imidazopyridine series functions by reducing ATP generation via inhibition of QcrB.



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