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A synthetic mammalian gene circuit reveals antituberculosis compounds


Weber, W M; Schoenmakers, R; Keller, B; Gitzinger, M; Grau, T; Daoud-El Baba, M; Sander, P; Fussenegger, M (2008). A synthetic mammalian gene circuit reveals antituberculosis compounds. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS), 105(29):9994-9998.

Abstract

Synthetic biology provides insight into natural gene-network dynamics and enables assembly of engineered transcription circuitries for production of difficult-to-access therapeutic molecules. In Mycobacterium tuberculosis EthR binds to a specific operator (O(ethR)) thereby repressing ethA and preventing EthA-catalyzed conversion of the prodrug ethionamide, which increases the resistance of the pathogen to this last-line-of-defense treatment. We have designed a synthetic mammalian gene circuit that senses the EthR-O(ethR) interaction in human cells and produces a quantitative reporter gene expression readout. Challenging of the synthetic network with compounds of a rationally designed chemical library revealed 2-phenylethyl-butyrate as a nontoxic substance that abolished EthR's repressor function inside human cells, in mice, and within M. tuberculosis where it triggered derepression of ethA and increased the sensitivity of this pathogen to ethionamide. The discovery of antituberculosis compounds by using synthetic mammalian gene circuits may establish a new line of defense against multidrug-resistant M. tuberculosis.

Synthetic biology provides insight into natural gene-network dynamics and enables assembly of engineered transcription circuitries for production of difficult-to-access therapeutic molecules. In Mycobacterium tuberculosis EthR binds to a specific operator (O(ethR)) thereby repressing ethA and preventing EthA-catalyzed conversion of the prodrug ethionamide, which increases the resistance of the pathogen to this last-line-of-defense treatment. We have designed a synthetic mammalian gene circuit that senses the EthR-O(ethR) interaction in human cells and produces a quantitative reporter gene expression readout. Challenging of the synthetic network with compounds of a rationally designed chemical library revealed 2-phenylethyl-butyrate as a nontoxic substance that abolished EthR's repressor function inside human cells, in mice, and within M. tuberculosis where it triggered derepression of ethA and increased the sensitivity of this pathogen to ethionamide. The discovery of antituberculosis compounds by using synthetic mammalian gene circuits may establish a new line of defense against multidrug-resistant M. tuberculosis.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Institute of Medical Microbiology
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:July 2008
Deposited On:22 Aug 2008 12:23
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 12:26
Publisher:National Academy of Sciences
ISSN:0027-8424
Publisher DOI:10.1073/pnas.0800663105
PubMed ID:18621677
Permanent URL: http://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-3140

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