Potential therapeutic approaches for a sleeping pathogen: tuberculosis a case for bioinorganic chemistry

Eduardo H. S. Sousa, Izaura C. N. Diógenes, Luiz G. F. Lopes, José J. G. Moura

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Abstract: Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) has an old history as a human pathogen and still kills over one million people every year. One key feature of this bacterium is its dormancy: a phenomenon responsible for major changes in its metabolism and replication that have been associated with the need for a lengthy therapy for Mtb. This process is regulated by key heme-based sensors, particularly DosT and DevS (DosS), among other co-regulators, and also linked to nitrogen utilization (nitrate/nitrite) and stringent responses. In face of the current threat of tuberculosis, there is an urgent need to develop new therapeutic agents capable of targeting the dormant state, associated with the need for a lengthy therapy. Interestingly, many of those key proteins are indeed metallo-containing or metallo-dependent biomolecules, opening exciting bioinorganic opportunities. Here, we critically reviewed a series of small molecules targeting key proteins involved in these processes, including DosT/DevS/DevR, RegX3, MprA, MtrA, NarL, PknB, Rel, PPK, nitrate and nitrite reductases, GlnA1, aiming for new opportunities and alternative therapies. Graphic abstract: In the battle against Mycobacterium tuberculosis, new drug targets must be searched, in particular those involved in dormancy. A series of exciting cases for drug development involving metallo-containing or metallo-dependent biomolecules are reviewed, opening great opportunities for the bioinorganic chemistry community.[Figure not available: see fulltext.]

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)685-704
Number of pages20
JournalJBIC Journal of Biological Inorganic Chemistry
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2020


  • Drug development
  • Kinases
  • Metalloproteins
  • Nitrogen cycle
  • Stringent response
  • Tuberculosis


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