Promising New Antifungal Treatment Targeting Chorismate Synthase from Paracoccidioides brasiliensis

Franciele Abigail Vilugron Rodrigues-Vendramini, Cidnei Marschalk, Marina Toplak, Peter Macheroux, Patricia de Souza Bonfim-Mendonca, Terezinha Inez Estivalet Svidzinski, Flavio Augusto Vicenter Seixas, Erika Seki Kioshima*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Paracoccidioidomycosis (PCM), caused by Paracoccidioides, is a systemic mycosis with granulomatous character and a restricted therapeutic arsenal. The aim of this work was to search for new alternatives to treat largely neglected tropical mycosis, such as PCM. In this context, the enzymes of the shikimate pathway constitute excellent drug targets for conferring selective toxicity because this pathway is absent in humans but essential for the fungus. In this work, we have used a homology model of the chorismate synthase (EC from Paracoccidioides brasiliensis (PbCS) and performed a combination of virtual screening and molecular dynamics testing to identify new potential inhibitors. The best hit, CP1, successfully adhered to pharmacological criteria (adsorption, distribution, metabolism, excretion, and toxicity) and was therefore used in in vitro experiments. Here we demonstrate that CP1 binds with a dissociation constant of 64 ± 1 μM to recombinant chorismate synthase from P. brasiliensis and inhibits enzymatic activity, with a 50% inhibitory concentration (IC50) of 47 ± 5 μM. As expected, CP1 showed no toxicity in three cell lines. On the other hand, CP1 reduced the fungal burden in lungs from treated mice, similar to itraconazole. In addition, histopathological analysis showed that animals treated with CP1 displayed less lung tissue infiltration, fewer yeast cells, and large areas with preserved architecture. Therefore, CP1 was able to control PCM in mice with a lower inflammatory response and is thus a promising candidate and lead structure for the development of drugs useful in PCM treatment.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere01097-18
JournalAntimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2018


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