Mechanism of Action of Mycobacterium tuberculosis Gyrase Inhibitors: A Novel Class of Gyrase Poisons

ACS Infect Dis. 2018 Aug 10;4(8):1211-1222. doi: 10.1021/acsinfecdis.8b00035. Epub 2018 May 17.


Tuberculosis is one of the leading causes of morbidity worldwide, and the incidences of drug resistance and intolerance are prevalent. Thus, there is a desperate need for the development of new antitubercular drugs. Mycobacterium tuberculosis gyrase inhibitors (MGIs) are napthyridone/aminopiperidine-based drugs that display activity against M. tuberculosis cells and tuberculosis in mouse models [Blanco, D., et al. (2015) Antimicrob. Agents Chemother. 59, 1868-1875]. Genetic and mutagenesis studies suggest that gyrase, which is the target for fluoroquinolone antibacterials, is also the target for MGIs. However, little is known regarding the interaction of these drugs with the bacterial type II enzyme. Therefore, we examined the effects of two MGIs, GSK000 and GSK325, on M. tuberculosis gyrase. MGIs greatly enhanced DNA cleavage mediated by the bacterial enzyme. In contrast to fluoroquinolones (which induce primarily double-stranded breaks), MGIs induced only single-stranded DNA breaks under a variety of conditions. MGIs work by stabilizing covalent gyrase-cleaved DNA complexes and appear to suppress the ability of the enzyme to induce double-stranded breaks. The drugs displayed little activity against type II topoisomerases from several other bacterial species, suggesting that these drugs display specificity for M. tuberculosis gyrase. Furthermore, MGIs maintained activity against M. tuberuclosis gyrase enzymes that contained the three most common fluoroquinolone resistance mutations seen in the clinic and displayed no activity against human topoisomerase IIα. These findings suggest that MGIs have potential as antitubercular drugs, especially in the case of fluoroquinolone-resistant disease.

Keywords: Mycobacterium tuberculosis gyrase inhibitors; fluoroquinolones; gyrase; single-stranded DNA cleavage; tuberculosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Antitubercular Agents / pharmacology*
  • DNA / metabolism
  • DNA Breaks, Single-Stranded
  • DNA Gyrase / metabolism*
  • Hydrolysis
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis / drug effects*
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis / enzymology*
  • Topoisomerase II Inhibitors / pharmacology*


  • Antitubercular Agents
  • Topoisomerase II Inhibitors
  • DNA
  • DNA Gyrase