A Cinchona Alkaloid Antibiotic That Appears to Target ATP Synthase in Streptococcus pneumoniae

Xu Wang, Yuna Zeng, Li Sheng, Peter Larson, Xue Liu, Xiaowen Zou, Shufang Wang, Kaijing Guo, Chen Ma, Gang Zhang, Huaqing Cui, David M. Ferguson, Yan Li, Jingren Zhang, Courtney C. Aldrich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Optochin, a cinchona alkaloid derivative discovered over 100 years ago, possesses highly selective antibacterial activity toward Streptococcus pneumoniae. Pneumococcal disease remains the leading source of bacterial pneumonia and meningitis worldwide. The structure-activity relationships of optochin were examined through modification to both the quinoline and quinuclidine subunits, which led to the identification of analogue 48 with substantially improved activity. Resistance and molecular modeling studies indicate that 48 likely binds to the c-ring of ATP synthase near the conserved glutamate 52 ion-binding site, while mechanistic studies demonstrated that 48 causes cytoplasmic acidification. Initial pharmacokinetic and drug metabolism analyses of optochin and 48 revealed limitations of these quinine analogues, which were rapidly cleared, resulting in poor in vivo exposure through hydroxylation pendants to the quinuclidine and O-dealkylation of the quinoline. Collectively, the results provide a foundation to advance 48 and highlight ATP synthase as a promising target for antibiotic development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2305-2332
Number of pages28
JournalJournal of medicinal chemistry
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 14 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2019 American Chemical Society.


Dive into the research topics of 'A Cinchona Alkaloid Antibiotic That Appears to Target ATP Synthase in Streptococcus pneumoniae'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this