Chemosensitization of fluconazole resistance in Saccharomyces cerevisiae and pathogenic fungi by a D-octapeptide derivative.
Hyperexpression of the Saccharomyces cerevisiae multidrug ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporter Pdr5p was driven by the pdr1-3 mutation in the Pdr1p transcriptional regulator in a strain (AD/PDR5(+)) with deletions of five other ABC-type multidrug efflux pumps. The strain had high-level fluconazole (FLC) resistance (MIC, 600 microg ml(-1)), and plasma membrane fractions showed oligomycin-sensitive ATPase activity up to fivefold higher than that shown by fractions from an isogenic PDR5-null mutant (FLC MIC, 0.94 microg ml(-1)). In vitro inhibition of the Pdr5p ATPase activity and chemosensitization of cells to FLC allowed the systematic screening of a 1.8-million-member designer D-octapeptide combinatorial library for surface-active Pdr5p antagonists with modest toxicity against yeast cells. Library deconvolution identified the 4-methoxy-2,3,6-trimethylbenzensulfonyl-substituted D-octapeptide KN20 as a potent Pdr5p ATPase inhibitor (concentration of drug causing 50% inhibition of enzyme activity [IC(50)], 4 microM) which chemosensitized AD/PDR5(+) to FLC, itraconazole, and ketoconazole. It also inhibited the ATPase activity of other ABC transporters, such as Candida albicans Cdr1p (IC(50), 30 microM) and Cdr2p (IC(50), 2 microM), and chemosensitized clinical isolates of pathogenic Candida species and S. cerevisiae strains that heterologously hyperexpressed either ABC-type multidrug efflux pumps, the C. albicans major facilitator superfamily-type drug transporter Ben(R)p, or the FLC drug target lanosterol 14 alpha-demethylase (Erg11p). Although KN20 also inhibited the S. cerevisiae plasma membrane proton pump Pma1p (IC(50), 1 microM), the peptide concentrations required for chemosensitization made yeast cells permeable to rhodamine 6G. KN20 therefore appears to indirectly chemosensitize cells to FLC by a nonlethal permeabilization of the fungal plasma membrane.