Targeting bacterial Dsb proteins for the development of anti-virulence agents

Roxanne P. Smith, Jason J. Paxman, Martin J. Scanlon, Begoña Heras

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)


Recent years have witnessed a dramatic increase in bacterial antimicrobial resistance and a decline in the development of novel antibiotics. New therapeutic strategies are urgently needed to combat the growing threat posed by multidrug resistant bacterial infections. The Dsb disulfide bond forming pathways are potential targets for the development of antimicrobial agents because they play a central role in bacterial pathogenesis. In particular, the DsbA/DsbB system catalyses disulfide bond formation in a wide array of virulence factors, which are essential for many pathogens to establish infections and cause disease. These redox enzymes are well placed as antimicrobial targets because they are taxonomically widespread, share low sequence identity with human proteins, and many years of basic research have provided a deep molecular understanding of these systems in bacteria. In this review, we discuss disulfide bond catalytic pathways in bacteria and their significance in pathogenesis. We also review the use of different approaches to develop inhibitors against Dsb proteins as potential anti-virulence agents, including fragment-based drug discovery, high-throughput screening and other structure-based drug discovery methods.

Original languageEnglish
Article number811
Number of pages15
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2016


  • Anti-virulence
  • Disulfide catalysis
  • DsbA inhibitors
  • DsbB inhibitors
  • Fragment-based drug design, antimicrobial resistance

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