Discovery and evaluation of novel Mycobacterium tuberculosis ketol-acid reductoisomerase inhibitors as therapeutic drug leads

  • Vagolu Siva Krishna
  • Shan Zheng
  • Estharla Madhu Rekha
  • Luke W. GuddatEmail author
  • Dharmarajan SriramEmail author


Tuberculosis (TB) remains a major threat to human health. This due to the fact that current drug treatments are less than optimal and the increasing occurrence of multi drug-resistant strains of etiological agent, Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mt). Given the wide-spread significance of this disease, we have undertaken a design and evaluation program to discover new anti-TB drug leads. Here, we focused on ketol-acid reductoisomerase (KARI), the second enzyme in the branched-chain amino acid biosynthesis pathway. Importantly, this enzyme is present in bacteria but not in humans, making it an attractive proposition for drug discovery. In the present work, we used molecular docking to identify seventeen potential inhibitors of KARI using an in-house database. Compounds were selected based on docking scores, which were assigned as the result of favourable interactions between the compound and the active site of KARI. The inhibitory constant values for two leads, compounds 14 and 16 are 3.71 and 3.06 µM respectively. To assess the mode of binding, 100 ns molecular dynamics simulations for these two compounds in association with Mt KARI were performed and showed that the complex was stable with an average root mean square deviation of less than 3.5 Å for all atoms. Furthermore, compound 16 showed a minimum inhibitory concentration of 2.06 ± 0.91 µM and a 1.9 fold logarithmic reduction in the growth of Mt in an infected macrophage model. The two compounds exhibited low toxicity against RAW 264.7 cell lines. Thus, both compounds are promising candidates for development as an anti-TB drug leads.


Tuberculosis Ketol-acid reductoisomerase Molecular docking Molecular dynamics simulations Dormant tuberculosis Macrophage 



VSK and EMR are thankful to Department of Science and Technology, Government of India for the INSPIRE fellowship. DS is thankful to Department of Biotechnology, Government of India for the Tata innovation fellowship (BT/HRD/35/01/04/2015). LWG is supported by an NHMRC Project Grant 1147297.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 160 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PharmacyBirla Institute of Technology and Science-PilaniHyderabadIndia
  2. 2.School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences and Australian Infectious Disease Research CentreThe University of QueenslandBrisbaneAustralia

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