Clionamines stimulate autophagy, inhibit Mycobacterium tuberculosis survival in macrophages, and target Pik1

Cell Chem Biol. 2021 Sep 11;S2451-9456(21)00357-3. doi: 10.1016/j.chembiol.2021.07.017. Online ahead of print.


The pathogen Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) evades the innate immune system by interfering with autophagy and phagosomal maturation in macrophages, and, as a result, small molecule stimulation of autophagy represents a host-directed therapeutics (HDTs) approach for treatment of tuberculosis (TB). Here we show the marine natural product clionamines activate autophagy and inhibit Mtb survival in macrophages. A yeast chemical-genetics approach identified Pik1 as target protein of the clionamines. Biotinylated clionamine B pulled down Pik1 from yeast cell lysates and a clionamine analog inhibited phosphatidyl 4-phosphate (PI4P) production in yeast Golgi membranes. Chemical-genetic profiles of clionamines and cationic amphiphilic drugs (CADs) are closely related, linking the clionamine mode of action to co-localization with PI4P in a vesicular compartment. Small interfering RNA (siRNA) knockdown of PI4KB, a human homolog of Pik1, inhibited the survival of Mtb in macrophages, identifying PI4KB as an unexploited molecular target for efforts to develop HDT drugs for treatment of TB.

Keywords: PI4KB; autophagy; host-directed therapeutics; macrophages; marine natural product; pik1; tuberculosis; xenophagy.