When Proteins Start to Make Sense: Fine-tuning Aminoglycosides for PTC Suppression Therapy

Medchemcomm. 2014 Aug 1;5(8):1092-1105. doi: 10.1039/C4MD00081A.


Aminoglycosides (AGs) are highly potent antibacterial agents, which are known to exert their deleterious effects on bacterial cells by interfering with the translation process, leading to aberrant protein synthesis that usually results in cell death. Nearly 45 years ago, AGs were shown to induce read-through activity in prokaryotic systems by selectively encoding tRNA molecules at premature termination codon (PTC) positions; resulting in the generation of full length functional proteins. However, only in the last 20 years this ability has been demonstrated in eukaryotic systems, highlighting their potential as therapeutic agents to treat PTC induced genetic disorders. Despite the great potential, AGs use in these manners is quite restricted due to relatively high toxicity values observed upon their administration. Over the last few years several synthetic derivatives were developed to overcome some of the enhanced toxicity issues, while in parallel showed significantly improved PTC suppression activity in various in-vitro, ex-vivo and in-vivo models of a variety of different diseases models underling by PTC mutations. Although these derivatives hold great promise to serve as therapeutic candidates they also demonstrate the necessity to further understand the molecular mechanisms of which AGs confer their biological activity in eukaryotic cells for further rational drug design. Recent achievements in structural research shed light on AGs mechanism of action and opened a new avenue in the development of new and improved therapeutic derivatives. The following manuscript highlights these accomplishments and summarizes their contributions to the state of art rational drug design.