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Investigation of Salicylanilides as Botulinum Toxin Antagonists

Patel, EN;Lin, L;Sneller, MM;Eubanks, LM;Tepp, WH;Pellett, S;Janda, KD;

Botulinum neurotoxin serotype A (BoNT/A) is recognized by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as the most potent toxin and as a Tier 1 biowarfare agent. The severity and longevity of botulism stemming from BoNT/A is of significant therapeutic concern, and early administration of antitoxin-antibody therapy is the only approved pharmaceutical treatment for botulism. Small molecule therapeutic strategies have targeted both the heavy chain (HC) and the light chain (LC) catalytic active site and ?-/?-exosites. The LC translocation mechanism has also been studied, but an effective, nontoxic inhibitor remains underexplored. In this work, we screened a library of salicylanilides as potential translocation inhibitors. Potential leads following a primary screen were further scrutinized to identify sal30, which has a cellular minimal concentration of a drug that is required for 50% inhibition (IC50) value of 141 nM. The inquiry of salicylanilide sal30’s mechanism of action was explored through a self-quenched fluorogenic substrate conjugated to bovine serum albumin (DQ-BSA) fluorescence, confocal microscopy, and vacuolar H+-ATPase (V-ATPase) inhibition assays. The summation of these findings imply that endolysosomal proton translocation through the protonophore mechanism of sal30 causes endosome pH to increase, which in turn prevents LC translocation into cytosol, a process that requires an acidic pH. Thus, the inhibition of BoNT/A activity by salicylanilides likely occurs through disruption of pH-dependent endosomal LC translocation. We further probed BoNT inhibition by sal30 using additivity analysis studies with bafilomycin A1, a known BoNT/A LC translocation inhibitor, which indicated the absence of synergy between the two ionophores.