Elucidation of the mechanism of action of compounds with cellular bioactivity is important for progressing compounds into future drug development. In recent years, phenotype-based drug discovery has become the dominant approach to drug discovery over target-based drug discovery, which relies on the knowledge of a specific drug target of a disease. Still, when targeting an infectious disease via a high throughput phenotypic assay it is highly advantageous to identifying the compound's cellular activity. A fraction derived from the plant Polyalthia sp. showed activity against Mycobacterium tuberculosis at 62.5 μge/μL. A known compound, altholactone, was identified from this fraction that showed activity towards M. tuberculosis at an minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) of 64 μM. Retrospective analysis of a target-based screen against a TB proteome panel using native mass spectrometry established that the active fraction was bound to the mycobacterial protein Rv1466 with an estimated pseudo-Kd of 42.0 ± 6.1 µM. Our findings established Rv1466 as the potential molecular target of altholactone, which is responsible for the observed in vivo toxicity towards M. tuberculosis.
Keywords: Rv1466; altholactone; drug target; native mass spectrometry; tuberculosis.