Bypassing fluoroquinolone resistance with quinazolinediones: Studies of drug-gyrase-DNA complexes having implications for drug design

Karl Drlica, Arkady Mustaev, Tyrell R. Towle, Gan Luan, Robert J. Kerns, James M. Berger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Widespread fluoroquinolone resistance has drawn attention to quinazolinediones (diones), fluoroquinolone-like topoisomerase poisons that are unaffected by common quinolone-resistance mutations. To better understand differences between quinolones and diones, we examined their impact on the formation of cleaved complexes (drug-topoisomerase-DNA complexes in which the DNA moiety is broken) with gyrase, one of two bacterial targets of the drugs. Formation of cleaved complexes, measured by linearization of a circular DNA substrate, required lower concentrations of quinolone than dione. The reverse reaction, detected as resealing of DNA breaks in cleaved complexes, required higher temperatures and EDTA concentrations for quinolones than diones. The greater stability of quinolone-containing complexes was attributed to the unique ability of the quinolone C3/C4 keto acid to complex with magnesium and form a previously described drug-magnesium-water bridge with GyrA-Ser83 and GyrA-Asp87. A nearby substitution in GyrA (G81C) reduced activity differences between quinolone and dione, indicating that resistance due to this variation derives from perturbation of the magnesium-water bridge. To increase dione activity, we examined a relatively small, flexible C-7-3-(aminomethyl)pyrrolidinyl substituent, which is distal to the bridging C3/C4 keto acid substituent of quinolones. The 3-(aminomethyl)pyrrolidinyl group at position C-7 was capable of forming binding interactions with GyrB-Glu466, as indicated by inspection of crystal structures, computer-aided docking, and measurement of cleaved-complex formation with mutant and wild-type GyrB proteins. Thus, modification of dione C-7 substituents constitutes a strategy for obtaining compounds active against common quinolone-resistant mutants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2895-2904
Number of pages10
JournalACS chemical biology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 19 2014
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Medicine


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