Research ArticleAntibiotics

Aminomethyl spectinomycins as therapeutics for drug-resistant respiratory tract and sexually transmitted bacterial infections

Science Translational Medicine  20 May 2015:
Vol. 7, Issue 288, pp. 288ra75
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3010572

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Abstract

The antibiotic spectinomycin is a potent inhibitor of bacterial protein synthesis with a unique mechanism of action and an excellent safety index, but it lacks antibacterial activity against most clinically important pathogens. A series of N-benzyl–substituted 3′-(R)-3′-aminomethyl-3′-hydroxy spectinomycins was developed on the basis of a computational analysis of the aminomethyl spectinomycin binding site and structure-guided synthesis. These compounds had ribosomal inhibition values comparable to spectinomycin but showed increased potency against the common respiratory tract pathogens Streptococcus pneumoniae, Haemophilus influenzae, Legionella pneumophila, and Moraxella catarrhalis, as well as the sexually transmitted bacteria Neisseria gonorrhoeae and Chlamydia trachomatis. Non–ribosome-binding 3′-(S) isomers of the lead compounds demonstrated weak inhibitory activity in in vitro protein translation assays and poor antibacterial activity, indicating that the antibacterial activity of the series remains on target against the ribosome. Compounds also demonstrated no mammalian cytotoxicity, improved microsomal stability, and favorable pharmacokinetic properties in rats. The lead compound from the series exhibited excellent chemical stability superior to spectinomycin; no interaction with a panel of human receptors and drug metabolism enzymes, suggesting low potential for adverse reactions or drug-drug interactions in vivo; activity in vitro against a panel of penicillin-, macrolide-, and cephalosporin-resistant S. pneumoniae clinical isolates; and the ability to cure mice of fatal pneumococcal pneumonia and sepsis at a dose of 5 mg/kg. Together, these studies indicate that N-benzyl aminomethyl spectinomycins are suitable for further development to treat drug-resistant respiratory tract and sexually transmitted bacterial infections.

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