The dimorphic fungi Paracoccidioides spp. are the etiological agents of paracoccidioidomycosis (PCM), a mycosis of high incidence in Brazil. The toxicity of drug treatment and the emergence of resistant organisms have led to research for new candidates for drugs. In this study, we demonstrate that the natural product argentilactone was not cytotoxic or genotoxic to MRC5 cells at the IC50 concentration to the fungus. We also verified the proteomic profile of Paracoccidioides lutzii after incubation with argentilactone using a label free quantitative proteome nanoUPLC-MSE. The results of this study indicated that the fungus has a global metabolic adaptation in the presence of argentilactone. Enzymes of important pathways, such as glycolysis, the Krebs cycle and the glyoxylate cycle, were repressed, which drove the metabolism to the methylcytrate cycle and beta-oxidation. Proteins involved in cell rescue, defense and stress response were induced. In this study, alternative metabolic pathways adopted by the fungi were elucidated, helping to elucidate the course of action of the compound studied.
Paracoccidioidomycosis (PCM) is a systemic granulomatous human mycosis caused by fungi of the genus Paracoccidioides, which is geographically restricted to Latin America. Inhalation of spores, the infectious particles of the fungus, is a common route of infection. The PCM treatment of choice is azoles such as itraconazole, but sulfonamides and amphotericin B are used in some cases despite their toxicity to mammalian cells. The current availability of treatments highlights the need to identify and characterize novel targets for antifungal treatment of PCM as well as the need to search for new antifungal compounds obtained from natural sources or by chemical synthesis. To this end, we evaluated the antifungal activity of a camphene thiosemicarbazide derivative (TSC-C) compound on Paracoccidioides yeast. To determine the response of Paracoccidioides spp. to TSC-C, we analyzed the transcriptional profile of the fungus after 8 h of contact with the compound. The results demonstrate that Paracoccidioides lutzii induced the expression of genes related to metabolism; cell cycle and DNA processing; biogenesis of cellular components; cell transduction/signal; cell rescue, defense and virulence; cellular transport, transport facilities and transport routes; energy; protein synthesis; protein fate; transcription; and other proteins without classification. Additionally, we observed intensely inhibited genes related to protein synthesis. Analysis by fluorescence microscopy and flow cytometry revealed that the compound induced the production of reactive oxygen species. Using an isolate with down-regulated SOD1 gene expression (SOD1-aRNA), we sought to determine the function of this gene in the defense of Paracoccidioides yeast cells against the compound. Mutant cells were more susceptible to TSC-C, demonstrating the importance of this gene in response to the compound. The results presented herein suggest that TSC-C is a promising candidate for PCM treatment.
Paracoccidioides spp., a dimorphic pathogenic fungus, is the etiologic agent of paracoccidioidomycosis (PCM). PCM is an endemic disease that affects at least 10 million people in Latin America, causing severe public health problems. The drugs used against pathogenic fungi have various side effects and limited efficacy; therefore, there is an inevitable and urgent medical need for the development of new antifungal drugs. In the present study, we evaluated the transcriptional profile of Paracoccidioides lutzii exposed to argentilactone, a constituent of the essential oil of Hyptis ovalifolia. A total of 1,058 genes were identified, of which 208 were up-regulated and 850 were down-regulated. Cell rescue, defense and virulence, with a total of 26 genes, was a functional category with a large number of genes induced, including heat shock protein 90 (hsp90), cytochrome c peroxidase (ccp), the hemoglobin ligand RBT5 (rbt5) and superoxide dismutase (sod). Quantitative real-time PCR revealed an increase in the expression level of all of those genes. An enzymatic assay showed a significant increase in SOD activity. The reduced growth of Pbhsp90-aRNA, Pbccp-aRNA, Pbsod-aRNA and Pbrbt5-aRNA isolates in the presence of argentilactone indicates the importance of these genes in the response of Paracoccidioides spp. to argentilactone. The response of the P. lutzii cell wall to argentilactone treatment was also evaluated. The results showed that argentilactone caused a decrease in the levels of polymers in the cell wall. These results suggest that argentilactone is a potential candidate for antifungal therapy.
Aim: The shape-based virtual screening was used for the identification of new compounds anti-paracoccidioidomycosis (PCM). Materials & methods: The study was performed according to the following steps: collection and curation of a dataset of quinolinyl N-oxide chalcones with anti-PCM activity, development and validation of shape-based models, application of the best model for virtual screening, and experimental validation. Results & Conclusion: Among 31 computational hits, eight compounds showed potent antifungal activity and low cytotoxicity for mammalian cells. The checkerboard assay showed that most promising hit (compound 3) displayed additive effects with the antifungal cotrimoxazole and amphotericin B. Therefore, the shape-based virtual screening allowed us to discover promising compounds in prospective hit-to-lead optimization studies for tackling PCM.
Paracoccidioidomycosis (PCM) is the most prevalent endemic mycosis in Latin America. The disease is caused by fungi of the genus Paracoccidioides and mainly affects low-income rural workers after inhalation of fungal conidia suspended in the air. The current arsenal of chemotherapeutic agents requires long-term administration protocols. In addition, chemotherapy is related to a significantly increased frequency of disease relapse, high toxicity, and incomplete elimination of the fungus. Due to the limitations of current anti-PCM drugs, we developed a computational drug repurposing-chemogenomics approach to identify approved drugs or drug candidates in clinical trials with anti-PCM activity. In contrast to the one-drug-one-target paradigm, our chemogenomics approach attempts to predict interactions between drugs, and Paracoccidioides protein targets. To achieve this goal, we designed a workflow with the following steps: (a) compilation and preparation of Paracoccidioides spp. genome data; (b) identification of orthologous proteins among the isolates; (c) identification of homologous proteins in publicly available drug-target databases; (d) selection of Paracoccidioides essential targets using validated genes from Saccharomyces cerevisiae ; (e) homology modeling and molecular docking studies; and (f) experimental validation of selected candidates. We prioritized 14 compounds. Two antineoplastic drug candidates (vistusertib and BGT-226) predicted to be inhibitors of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase TOR2 showed antifungal activity at low micromolar concentrations (<10 μM). Four antifungal azole drugs (bifonazole, luliconazole, butoconazole, and sertaconazole) showed antifungal activity at low nanomolar concentrations, validating our methodology. The results suggest our strategy for predicting new anti-PCM drugs is useful. Finally, we could recommend hit-to-lead optimization studies to improve potency and selectivity, as well as pharmaceutical formulations to improve oral bioavailability of the antifungal azoles identified.
Aim: To perform virtual screening of compounds based on natural products targeting isocitrate lyase of Paracoccidioides brasiliensis. Materials & methods: Homology modeling and molecular dynamics simulations were applied in order to obtain conformational models for virtual screening. The selected hits were tested in vitro against enzymatic activity of ICL of the dimorphic fungus P. brasiliensis and growth of the Paracoccidioides spp. The cytotoxicity and selectivity index of the compounds were defined. Results & conclusion: Carboxamide, lactone and β-carboline moieties were identified as interesting chemical groups for the design of new antifungal compounds. The compounds inhibited ICL of the dimorphic fungus P. brasiliensis activity. The compound 4559339 presented minimum inhibitory concentration of 7.3 μg/ml in P. brasiliensis with fungicidal effect at this concentration. Thus, a new potential antifungal against P. brasiliensis is proposed.
Paracoccidioidomycosis (PCM) is the cause of many deaths from systemic mycoses. The etiological agents of PCM belong to the genus, which is restricted to Latin America. The infection is acquired through the inhalation of conidia that primarily lodge in the lungs and may disseminate to other organs and tissues. The treatment for PCM is commonly performed via the administration of antifungals such as amphotericin B, co-trimoxazole, and itraconazole. The antifungal toxicity and side effects, in addition to their long treatment times, have stimulated research for new bioactive compounds. Argentilactone is a compound that was isolated from the Brazilian savanna plant, and it has been suggested to be a potent antifungal, inhibiting the dimorphism of and the enzymatic activity of isocitrate lyase, a key enzyme of the glyoxylate cycle. This work was developed due to the importance of elucidating the putative mode of action of argentilactone. The chemoproteomics approach via affinity chromatography was the methodology used to explore the interactions between proteins and argentilactone. A total of 109 proteins were identified and classified functionally. The most representative functional categories were related to amino acid metabolism, energy, and detoxification. Argentilactone inhibited the enzymatic activity of malate dehydrogenase, citrate synthase, and pyruvate dehydrogenase. Furthermore, argentilactone induces the production of reactive oxygen species and inhibits the biosynthesis of cell wall polymers.
Paracoccidioidomycosis is a neglected disease that causes economic and social impacts, mainly affecting people of certain social segments, such as rural workers. The limitations of antifungals, such as toxicity, drug interactions, restricted routes of administration, and the reduced bioavailability in target tissues, have become evident in clinical settings. These factors, added to the fact that Paracoccidioidomycosis (PCM) therapy is a long process, lasting from months to years, emphasize the need for the research and development of new molecules. Researchers have concentrated efforts on the identification of new compounds using numerous tools and targeting important proteins from Paracoccidioides, with the emphasis on enzymatic pathways absent in humans. This review aims to discuss the aspects related to the identification of compounds, methodologies, and perspectives when proposing new antifungal agents against PCM.
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