The trehalose-specific transporter LpqY-SugABC is required for antimicrobial and anti-biofilm activity of trehalose analogues in Mycobacterium smegmatis

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Carbohydrate Research


Mycobacteria, including the bacterial pathogen that causes human tuberculosis, possess distinctive pathways for synthesizing and utilizing the non-mammalian disaccharide trehalose. Trehalose metabolism is essential for mycobacterial viability and has been linked to in vitro biofilm formation, which may bear relevance to in vivo drug tolerance. Previous research has shown that some trehalose analogues bearing modifications at the 6-position inhibit growth of various mycobacterial species. In this work, 2-, 5-, and 6-position-modified trehalose analogues were synthesized using our previously reported one-step chemoenzymatic method and shown to inhibit growth and biofilm formation in the two-to three-digit micromolar range in Mycobacterium smegmatis. The trehalose-specific ABC transporter LpqY-SugABC was essential for antimicrobial and anti-biofilm activity, suggesting that inhibition by monosubstituted trehalose analogues requires cellular uptake and does not proceed via direct action on extracellular targets such as antigen 85 acyltransferases or trehalose dimycolate hydrolase. Although the potency of the described compounds in in vitro growth and biofilm assays is moderate, this study reports the first trehalose-based mycobacterial biofilm inhibitors and reinforces the concept of exploiting unique sugar uptake pathways to deliver inhibitors and other chemical cargo to mycobacteria.


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