It is possible that antifungal drugs with novel modes of action will provide more favorable options to treat fungal infections. In the course of our screening for antifungal compounds acting on the cell wall, a pyridobenzimidazole derivative with unique activities named D75-4590 was discovered. By treatment of yeast with D75-4590, 1) incorporation of [(14)C]-glucose into the beta-1,6-glucan component was selectively reduced, 2) proteins released from cell had lost the beta-1,6-glucan moiety, and 3) cells tended to clump, resulting in impaired cell growth. Genetic analysis of D75-4590 resistant mutant of Saccharomyces cerevisiae indicated that its primary target was Kre6p which is considered to be one of the beta-1,6-glucan synthases. These results strongly suggest that D75-4590 is a specific inhibitor of beta-1,6-glucan synthesis. D75-4590 showed potent activities against various Candida species. It inhibited hyphal elongation of C. abicans as well. KRE6 is conserved in various fungi but no homologue has been found in mammalian cells. These lines of evidence indicate that D75-4590 is a promising lead compound for novel antifungal drugs. To our knowledge, this is the first report of beta-1,6-glucan inhibitor.
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