Trehalose-6-Phosphate as a Potential Lead Candidate for the Development of Tps1 Inhibitors: Insights from the Trehalose Biosynthesis Pathway in Diverse Yeast Species


In some pathogens, trehalose biosynthesis is induced in response to stress as a protection mechanism. This pathway is an attractive target for antimicrobials as neither the enzymes, Tps1, and Tps2, nor is trehalose present in humans. Accumulation of T6P in Candida albicans, achieved by deletion of TPS2, resulted in strong reduction of fungal virulence. In this work, the effect of T6P on Tps1 activity was evaluated. Saccharomyces cerevisiae, C. albicans, and Candida tropicalis were used as experimental models. As expected, a heat stress induced both trehalose accumulation and increased Tps1 activity. However, the addition of 125 μM T6P to extracts obtained from stressed cells totally abolished or reduced in 50 and 60 % the induction of Tps1 activity in S. cerevisiae, C. tropicalis, and C. albicans, respectively. According to our results, T6P is an uncompetitive inhibitor of S. cerevisiae Tps1. This kind of inhibitor is able to decrease the rate of reaction to zero at increased concentrations. Based on the similarities found in sequence and function between Tps1 of S. cerevisiae and some pathogens and on the inhibitory effect of T6P on Tps1 activity observed in vitro, novel drugs can be developed for the treatment of infectious diseases caused by organisms whose infectivity and survival on the host depend on trehalose.

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This work was supported by FAPERJ, CNPq, and CAPES. We thank Prof Andre Luis Santos from the Institute of Microbiology, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, for supplying the C. albicans and C. tropicalis strains.

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Correspondence to Elis C. A. Eleutherio.

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Magalhães, R.S.S., De Lima, K.C., de Almeida, D.S.G. et al. Trehalose-6-Phosphate as a Potential Lead Candidate for the Development of Tps1 Inhibitors: Insights from the Trehalose Biosynthesis Pathway in Diverse Yeast Species. Appl Biochem Biotechnol 181, 914–924 (2017).

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  • Trehalose-6-phosphate
  • Trehalose-6-phosphate synthase
  • Inhibition
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae
  • Candida albicans
  • Candida tropicalis