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  1. Dunman, Paul (Ed.)
    ABSTRACT The bacterial type IV pilus (T4P) is a prominent virulence factor in many significant human pathogens, some of which have become increasingly antibiotic resistant. Antivirulence chemotherapeutics are considered a promising alternative to antibiotics because they target the disease process instead of bacterial viability. However, a roadblock to the discovery of anti-T4P compounds is the lack of a high-throughput screen (HTS) that can be implemented relatively easily and economically. Here, we describe the first HTS for the identification of inhibitors specifically against the T4P assembly ATPase PilB in vitro . Chloracidobacterium thermophilum PilB ( Ct PilB) had been demonstrated to have robust ATPase activity and the ability to bind its expected ligands in vitro. We utilized Ct PilB and MANT-ATP, a fluorescent ATP analog, to develop a binding assay and adapted it for an HTS. As a proof of principle, we performed a pilot screen with a small compound library of kinase inhibitors and identified quercetin as a PilB inhibitor in vitro . Using Myxococcus xanthus as a model bacterium, we found quercetin to reduce its T4P-dependent motility and T4P assembly in vivo. These results validated our HTS as effective in identifying PilB inhibitors. This assay may prove valuable inmore »seeking leads for the development of antivirulence chemotherapeutics against PilB, an essential and universal component of all bacterial T4P systems. IMPORTANCE Many bacterial pathogens use their type IV pili (T4P) to facilitate and maintain infection of a human host. Small chemical compounds that inhibit the production or assembly of T4P hold promise in the treatment and prevention of infections, especially in the era of increasing threats from antibiotic-resistant bacteria. However, few chemicals are known to have inhibitory or anti-T4P activity. Their identification has not been easy due to the lack of a method for the screening of compound collections or libraries on a large scale. Here, we report the development of an assay that can be scaled up to screen compound libraries for inhibitors of a critical T4P assembly protein. We further demonstrate that it is feasible to use whole cells to examine potential inhibitors for their activity against T4P assembly in a bacterium.« less
  2. PilB is the assembly ATPase for the bacterial type IV pilus (T4P), and as a consequence, it is essential for T4P-mediated bacterial motility. In some cases, PilB has been demonstrated to regulate the production of exopolysaccharide (EPS) during bacterial biofilm development independently of or in addition to its function in pilus assembly. While the ATPase activity of PilB resides at its C-terminal region, the N terminus of a subset of PilBs forms a novel cyclic-di-GMP (cdG)-binding domain. This multi-domain structure suggests that PilB binds cdG and adenine nucleotides through separate domains which may influence the functionality of PilB in both motility and biofilm development. Here, Chloracidobacterium thermophilum PilB is used to investigate ligand binding by its separate domains and by the full-length protein. Our results confirm the specificity of these individual domains for their respective ligands and demonstrate communications between these domains in the full-length protein. It is clear that when the N- and the C-terminal domains of PilB bind to cdG and ADP, respectively, they mutually influence each other in conformation and in their binding to ligands. We propose that the interactions between these domains in response to their ligands play critical roles in modulating or controlling the functionsmore »of PilB as a regulator of EPS production and as the T4P assembly ATPase.« less