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Public Library of Science (PLoS)

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PLoS One

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A new enzymatic assay for the bacterial enzyme succinyl-diaminopimelate desuccinylase (DapE, E.C. is described. This assay employs N6-methyl-N2-succinyl-L,L-diaminopimelic acid (N6-methyl-L,L-SDAP) as the substrate with ninhydrin used to detect cleavage of the amide bond of the modified substrate, wherein N6-methylation enables selective detection of the primary amine enzymatic product. Molecular modeling supported preparation of the mono-N6-methylated-L,L-SDAP as an alternate substrate for the assay, given binding in the active site of DapE predicted to be comparable to the endogenous substrate. The alternate substrate for the assay, N6-methyl-L,L-SDAP, was synthesized from the tert-butyl ester of Boc-L-glutamic acid employing a Horner-Wadsworth-Emmons olefination followed by an enantioselective reduction employing Rh(I)(COD)(S,S)-Et-DuPHOS as the chiral catalyst. Validation of the new ninhydrin assay was demonstrated with known inhibitors of DapE from Haemophilus influenza (HiDapE) including captopril (IC50 = 3.4 [± 0.2] μM, 3-mercaptobenzoic acid (IC50 = 21.8 [±2.2] μM, phenylboronic acid (IC50 = 316 [± 23.6] μM, and 2-thiopheneboronic acid (IC50 = 111 [± 16] μM. Based on these data, this assay is simple and robust, and should be amenable to high-throughput screening, which is an important step forward as it opens the door to medicinal chemistry efforts toward the discovery of DapE inhibitors that can function as a new class of antibiotics.


Published version. PLoS One, Vol. 13, No. 4 (April 26, 2018): e0196010. DOI. © 2018 Heath et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

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