Drug Repurposing for Paracoccidioidomycosis Through a Computational Chemogenomics Framework.
ABSTRACT: Paracoccidioidomycosis (PCM) is the most prevalent endemic mycosis in Latin America. The disease is caused by fungi of the genus Paracoccidioides and mainly affects low-income rural workers after inhalation of fungal conidia suspended in the air. The current arsenal of chemotherapeutic agents requires long-term administration protocols. In addition, chemotherapy is related to a significantly increased frequency of disease relapse, high toxicity, and incomplete elimination of the fungus. Due to the limitations of current anti-PCM drugs, we developed a computational drug repurposing-chemogenomics approach to identify approved drugs or drug candidates in clinical trials with anti-PCM activity. In contrast to the one-drug-one-target paradigm, our chemogenomics approach attempts to predict interactions between drugs, and Paracoccidioides protein targets. To achieve this goal, we designed a workflow with the following steps: (a) compilation and preparation of Paracoccidioides spp. genome data; (b) identification of orthologous proteins among the isolates; (c) identification of homologous proteins in publicly available drug-target databases; (d) selection of Paracoccidioides essential targets using validated genes from Saccharomyces cerevisiae; (e) homology modeling and molecular docking studies; and (f) experimental validation of selected candidates. We prioritized 14 compounds. Two antineoplastic drug candidates (vistusertib and BGT-226) predicted to be inhibitors of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase TOR2 showed antifungal activity at low micromolar concentrations (<10 ?M). Four antifungal azole drugs (bifonazole, luliconazole, butoconazole, and sertaconazole) showed antifungal activity at low nanomolar concentrations, validating our methodology. The results suggest our strategy for predicting new anti-PCM drugs is useful. Finally, we could recommend hit-to-lead optimization studies to improve potency and selectivity, as well as pharmaceutical formulations to improve oral bioavailability of the antifungal azoles identified.
Project description:The objective of this study was to assess the in vitro activity of the novel triazole antifungal drug, efinaconazole, and five comparators (luliconazole, lanoconazole, terbinafine, itraconazole, and fluconazole) against a large collection of Trichophyton interdigitale and Trichophyton rubrum clinical isolates. The geometric mean MICs were the lowest for luliconazole (0.0005 μg/ml), followed by lanoconazole (0.002 μg/ml), efinaconazole (0.007 μg/ml), terbinafine (0.011 μg/ml), itraconazole (0.095 μg/ml), and fluconazole (12.77 μg/ml). It appears that efinaconazole, lanoconazole, and luliconazole are promising candidates for the treatment of dermatophytosis due to T. interdigitale and T. rubrum.
Project description:Paracoccidioides spp., a dimorphic pathogenic fungus, is the etiologic agent of paracoccidioidomycosis (PCM). PCM is an endemic disease that affects at least 10 million people in Latin America, causing severe public health problems. The drugs used against pathogenic fungi have various side effects and limited efficacy; therefore, there is an inevitable and urgent medical need for the development of new antifungal drugs. In the present study, we evaluated the transcriptional profile of Paracoccidioides lutzii exposed to argentilactone, a constituent of the essential oil of Hyptis ovalifolia. A total of 1,058 genes were identified, of which 208 were up-regulated and 850 were down-regulated. Cell rescue, defense and virulence, with a total of 26 genes, was a functional category with a large number of genes induced, including heat shock protein 90 (hsp90), cytochrome c peroxidase (ccp), the hemoglobin ligand RBT5 (rbt5) and superoxide dismutase (sod). Quantitative real-time PCR revealed an increase in the expression level of all of those genes. An enzymatic assay showed a significant increase in SOD activity. The reduced growth of Pbhsp90-aRNA, Pbccp-aRNA, Pbsod-aRNA and Pbrbt5-aRNA isolates in the presence of argentilactone indicates the importance of these genes in the response of Paracoccidioides spp. to argentilactone. The response of the P. lutzii cell wall to argentilactone treatment was also evaluated. The results showed that argentilactone caused a decrease in the levels of polymers in the cell wall. These results suggest that argentilactone is a potential candidate for antifungal therapy.
Project description:Paracoccidioidomycosis (PCM) is a systemic granulomatous human mycosis caused by fungi of the genus Paracoccidioides, which is geographically restricted to Latin America. Inhalation of spores, the infectious particles of the fungus, is a common route of infection. The PCM treatment of choice is azoles such as itraconazole, but sulfonamides and amphotericin B are used in some cases despite their toxicity to mammalian cells. The current availability of treatments highlights the need to identify and characterize novel targets for antifungal treatment of PCM as well as the need to search for new antifungal compounds obtained from natural sources or by chemical synthesis. To this end, we evaluated the antifungal activity of a camphene thiosemicarbazide derivative (TSC-C) compound on Paracoccidioides yeast. To determine the response of Paracoccidioides spp. to TSC-C, we analyzed the transcriptional profile of the fungus after 8 h of contact with the compound. The results demonstrate that Paracoccidioides lutzii induced the expression of genes related to metabolism; cell cycle and DNA processing; biogenesis of cellular components; cell transduction/signal; cell rescue, defense and virulence; cellular transport, transport facilities and transport routes; energy; protein synthesis; protein fate; transcription; and other proteins without classification. Additionally, we observed intensely inhibited genes related to protein synthesis. Analysis by fluorescence microscopy and flow cytometry revealed that the compound induced the production of reactive oxygen species. Using an isolate with down-regulated SOD1 gene expression (SOD1-aRNA), we sought to determine the function of this gene in the defense of Paracoccidioides yeast cells against the compound. Mutant cells were more susceptible to TSC-C, demonstrating the importance of this gene in response to the compound. The results presented herein suggest that TSC-C is a promising candidate for PCM treatment.
Project description:Fungi of the Paracoccidioides genus are the etiological agents of paracoccidioidomycosis (PCM), a systemic mycosis restricted to the countries of Latin America. Currently, the Paracoccidioides complex is represented by Paracoccidioides lutzii, Paracoccidioides americana, Paracoccidioides brasiliensis, Paracoccidioides restrepiensis, and Paracoccidioides venezuelensis. Even with advances in techniques used for diagnosing fungal diseases, high rates of false-positive results for PCM are still presented. Additionally, there is no efficient antigen that can be used to follow up the efficiency of patient treatment. The immunoproteomic is considered a powerful tool for the identification of antigens. In addition, antigens are molecules recognized by the immune system, which make them excellent targets for diagnostic testing of diseases caused by microorganisms. In this vein, we investigated which antigens are secreted by species representing Paracoccidioides complex to increase the spectrum of molecules that could be used for future diagnostic tests, patient follow-up, or PCM therapy. To identify the profile of antigens secreted by Paracoccidioides spp., immunoproteomic approaches were used combining immunoprecipitation, followed by antigen identification by nanoUPLC-MSE-based proteomics. Consequently, it was possible to verify differences in the exoantigen profiles present among the studied species. Through a mass spectrometry approach, it was possible to identify 79 exoantigens in Paracoccidioides species. Using bioinformatics tools, two unique exoantigens in P. lutzii species were identified, as well as 44 epitopes exclusive to the Paracoccidioides complex and 12 unique antigenic sequences that can differentiate between Paracoccidioides species. Therefore, these results demonstrate that Paracoccidioides species have a range of B-cell epitopes exclusive to the complex as well as specific to each Paracoccidioides species. In addition, these analyses allowed us the identification of excellent biomarker candidates for epidemiology screening, diagnosis, patient follow-up, as well as new candidates for PCM therapy.
Project description:The in vitro activities of novel azoles compared to those of five antifungal drugs against clinical (n = 28) and environmental (n = 102) isolates of black mold and melanized yeast were determined. Luliconazole and lanoconazole had the lowest geometric mean MICs, followed by efinaconazole, against tested isolates compared to the other drugs. Therefore, it appears that these new imidazole and triazole drugs are promising candidates for the treatment of infections due to melanized fungi and their relatives.
Project description:The prevalence of invasive fungal infections worldwide has increased in the last decades. The development of specific drugs targeting pathogenic fungi without producing collateral damage to mammalian cells is a daunting pharmacological challenge. Indeed, many of the toxicities and drug interactions observed with contemporary antifungal therapies can be attributed to "nonselective" interactions with enzymes or cell membrane systems found in mammalian host cells. A computer-aided screening strategy against the TRR1 protein of Paracoccidioides lutzii is presented here. Initially, a bank of commercially available compounds from Life Chemicals provider was docked to model by virtual screening simulations. The small molecules that interact with the model were ranked and, among the best hits, twelve compounds out of 3,000 commercially-available candidates were selected. These molecules were synthesized for validation and in vitro antifungal activity assays for Paracoccidioides lutzii and P. brasiliensis were performed. From 12 molecules tested, 3 harbor inhibitory activity in antifungal assays against the two pathogenic fungi. Corroborating these findings, the molecules have inhibitory activity against the purified recombinant enzyme TRR1 in biochemical assays. Therefore, a rational combination of molecular modeling simulations and virtual screening of new drugs has provided a cost-effective solution to an early-stage medicinal challenge. These results provide a promising technique to the development of new and innovative drugs.
Project description:The dimorphic fungi Paracoccidioides spp. are the etiological agents of paracoccidioidomycosis (PCM), a mycosis of high incidence in Brazil. The toxicity of drug treatment and the emergence of resistant organisms have led to research for new candidates for drugs. In this study, we demonstrate that the natural product argentilactone was not cytotoxic or genotoxic to MRC5 cells at the IC50 concentration to the fungus. We also verified the proteomic profile of Paracoccidioides lutzii after incubation with argentilactone using a label free quantitative proteome nanoUPLC-MS(E). The results of this study indicated that the fungus has a global metabolic adaptation in the presence of argentilactone. Enzymes of important pathways, such as glycolysis, the Krebs cycle and the glyoxylate cycle, were repressed, which drove the metabolism to the methylcytrate cycle and beta-oxidation. Proteins involved in cell rescue, defense and stress response were induced. In this study, alternative metabolic pathways adopted by the fungi were elucidated, helping to elucidate the course of action of the compound studied.
Project description:Luliconazole is an imidazole antifungal agent with a unique structure, as the imidazole moiety is incorporated into the ketene dithioacetate structure. Luliconazole is the R-enantiomer, and has more potent antifungal activity than lanoconazole, which is a racemic mixture. In this review, we summarize the in vitro data, animal studies, and clinical trial data relating to the use of topical luliconazole. Preclinical studies have demonstrated excellent activity against dermatophytes. Further, in vitro/in vivo studies have also shown favorable activity against Candida albicans, Malassezia spp., and Aspergillus fumigatus. Luliconazole, although belonging to the azole group, has strong fungicidal activity against Trichophyton spp., similar to that of terbinafine. The strong clinical antifungal activity of luliconazole is possibly attributable to a combination of strong in vitro antifungal activity and favorable pharmacokinetic properties in the skin. Clinical trials have demonstrated its superiority over placebo in dermatophytosis, and its antifungal activity to be at par or even better than that of terbinafine. Application of luliconazole 1% cream once daily is effective even in short-term use (one week for tinea corporis/cruris and 2 weeks for tinea pedis). A Phase I/IIa study has shown excellent local tolerability and a lack of systemic side effects with use of topical luliconazole solution for onychomycosis. Further studies to evaluate its efficacy in onychomycosis are underway. Luliconazole 1% cream was approved in Japan in 2005 for the treatment of tinea infections. It has recently been approved by US Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of interdigital tinea pedis, tinea cruris, and tinea corporis. Topical luliconazole has a favorable safety profile, with only mild application site reactions reported occasionally.
Project description:A collection of clinical (n = 47) and environmental (n = 79) Fusarium isolates were tested against 10 antifungal drugs, including 2 novel imidazoles. Luliconazole and lanoconazole demonstrated very low geometric mean MIC values of 0.005 and 0.013 μg/ml, respectively, compared with 0.51 μg/ml for micafungin, 0.85 μg/ml for efinaconazole, 1.12 μg/ml for natamycin, 1.18 μg/ml for anidulafungin, 1.31 μg/ml for voriconazole, 1.35 μg/ml for caspofungin, 1.9 μg/ml for amphotericin B, and 4.08 μg/ml for itraconazole. Results show that these drugs are potential candidates for (topical) treatment of skin and nail infections due to Fusarium species.
Project description:Introduction:Trichophyton mentagrophytes and T. interdigitale are important causative agents of superficial mycoses, demonstrating emergent antifungal drug resistance. We studied the antifungal susceptibility profiles in Iranian isolates of these two species. Methods:A total of 96 T. interdigitale and 45 T. mentagrophytes isolates were subjected to molecular typing by ribosomal ITS region. Antifungal susceptibility profiles for terbinafine, griseofulvin, clotrimazole, efinaconazole, luliconazole, amorolfine and ciclopirox were obtained by CLSI broth microdilution method. The squalene epoxidase (SQLE) gene was subjected to sequencing for mutations, if any, in isolates exhibiting elevated MICs for terbinafine. Results:Luliconazole and efinaconazole showed the lowest MIC values against T. mentagrophytes and T. interdigitale isolates. There were five isolates with terbinafine MICs ?32 µg/mL in our sample. They belonged to T. mentagrophytes type VIII and harbored two alternative SQLE gene sequence variants, leading to Phe397Leu and Ala448Thr or Leu393Ser and Ala448Thr substitutions in the enzyme. All terbinafine resistant strains could be inhibited by luliconazole and efinaconazole. Conclusion:This study documented a step in the global spread of resistance mechanisms in T. mentagrophytes. However, treatment alternatives for resistant isolates were available.