High-throughput screening and Bayesian machine learning for copper-dependent inhibitors of: Staphylococcus aureus

Academic Article


  • One potential source of new antibacterials is through probing existing chemical libraries for copper-dependent inhibitors (CDIs), i.e., molecules with antibiotic activity only in the presence of copper. Recently, our group demonstrated that previously unknown staphylococcal CDIs were frequently present in a small pilot screen. Here, we report the outcome of a larger industrial anti-staphylococcal screen consisting of 40771 compounds assayed in parallel, both in standard and in copper-supplemented media. Ultimately, 483 had confirmed copper-dependent IC 50 values under 50 μM. Sphere-exclusion clustering revealed that these hits were largely dominated by sulfur-containing motifs, including benzimidazole-2-thiones, thiadiazines, thiazoline formamides, triazino-benzimidazoles, and pyridinyl thieno-pyrimidines. Structure-activity relationship analysis of the pyridinyl thieno-pyrimidines generated multiple improved CDIs, with activity likely dependent on ligand/ion coordination. Molecular fingerprint-based Bayesian classification models were built using Discovery Studio and Assay Central, a new platform for sharing and distributing cheminformatic models in a portable format, based on open-source tools. Finally, we used the latter model to evaluate a library of FDA-approved drugs for copper-dependent activity in silico. Two anti-helminths, albendazole and thiabendazole, scored highly and are known to coordinate copper ions, further validating the model's applicability.
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Dalecki AG; Zorn KM; Clark AM; Ekins S; Narmore WT; Tower N; Rasmussen L; Bostwick R; Kutsch O; Wolschendorf F
  • Start Page

  • 696
  • End Page

  • 706
  • Volume

  • 11
  • Issue

  • 3