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Validation and Development of an Escherichia coli Riboflavin Pathway Phenotypic Screen Hit as a Small-Molecule Ligand of the Flavin Mononucleotide Riboswitch

  • Carl J. Balibar
  • Artjohn Villafania
  • Christopher M. Barbieri
  • Nick Murgolo
  • Terry Roemer
  • Hao Wang
  • John A. Howe
Protocol
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 1787)

Abstract

A riboflavin biosynthesis pathway-specific phenotypic screen using a library of compounds, all with unspecified antibiotic activity, identified one small molecule later named ribocil, for which intrinsic antibacterial activity against Escherichia coli was completely suppressed by addition of exogenous riboflavin to the bacterial growth medium. The ability of riboflavin to suppress the activity of ribocil, and further demonstration that ribocil inhibited riboflavin synthesis (IC50 = 0.3 μM), supported that a component of the riboflavin synthesis pathway was the molecular target. Remarkably, resistance mutation selection and whole-genome sequencing showed that the target of ribocil was not an enzyme in the riboflavin biosynthesis pathway, but instead the flavin mononucleotide riboswitch, a noncoding structural RNA element in the ribB gene that encodes a key riboflavin synthesis enzyme. Although ribocil is structurally distinct from the natural riboswitch regulatory ligand flavin mononucleotide, ribocil binding to the riboswitch results in efficient repression of ribB expression and inhibition of riboflavin biosynthesis and bacterial growth. A cell-based riboswitch regulated gene reporter assay as well as an in vitro riboswitch RNA aptamer-binding assay, both of which are described in detail here along with the riboflavin pathway-specific screen, were developed to further validate the mechanism of action of ribocil and to facilitate the discovery of more potent analogues.

Key words

Riboflavin Riboswitch Antibacterials Ribocil RNA aptamer binding Riboswitch reporter assay 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carl J. Balibar
    • 1
  • Artjohn Villafania
    • 1
  • Christopher M. Barbieri
    • 1
  • Nick Murgolo
    • 1
  • Terry Roemer
    • 1
  • Hao Wang
    • 1
  • John A. Howe
    • 1
  1. 1.Merck Research LaboratoriesKenilworthUSA

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