Unraveling the B. pseudomallei Heptokinase WcbL: from structure to drug discovery
Chemistry and Biology
Gram-negative bacteria utilize heptoses as part of their repertoire of extracellular polysaccharide virulence determinants. Disruption of heptose biosynthesis offers an attractive target for novel antimicrobials. A critical step in the synthesis of heptoses is their 1-O phosphorylation, mediated by kinases such as HldE or WcbL. Here, we present the structure of WcbL from Burkholderia pseudomallei. We report that WcbL operates through a sequential ordered Bi-Bi mechanism, loading the heptose first and then ATP. We show that dimeric WcbL binds ATP anti-cooperatively in the absence of heptose, and cooperatively in its presence. Modeling of WcbL suggests that heptose binding causes an elegant switch in the hydrogen-bonding network, facilitating the binding of a second ATP molecule. Finally, we screened a library of drug-like fragments, identifying hits that potently inhibit WcbL. Our results provide a novel mechanism for control of substrate binding and emphasize WcbL as an attractive anti-microbial target for Gram-negative bacteria.
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
Open Access funded by Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License
Vol. 22, pp. 1622 - 1632
Place of publication