Submit Manuscript  

Article Details

Novel Drugs Targeting the c-Ring of the F1FO-ATP Synthase

[ Vol. 16 , Issue. 10 ]


Alessandra Pagliarani, S. Nesci and V. Ventrella   Pages 815 - 824 ( 10 )


Increasing evidence highlights the role of the ATP synthase/hydrolase, also known as F1FO-complex, as key molecular and enzymatic switch between cell life and death, thus increasing the enzyme attractiveness as drug target in pharmacology. Being inhibition of ATP production usually linked to antiproliferative properties, drugs targeting the enzyme complex have been mainly considered to fight pathogen parasites and cancer. In recent years, a number of natural macrolides, produced by bacterial fermentation and structurally related to the classical enzyme inhibitor oligomycin, have been shown to bind to the membrane-embedded FO sector and to inhibit the enzyme complex by an oligomycin-like mechanism, namely by interacting with the c-ring. Other than natural macrolide antibiotics, which display variegated inhibition power on different F1FO-complexes, synthetic compounds from the diarylquinoline and organotin families also target the c-ring and strongly inhibit the enzyme. Bioinformatic insights address drug design to target FO subunits. Additionally, the possible modulation of the drug inhibition power, by amino acid substitutions or post-translational modifications of c-subunits, adds further interest to the target. The present survey on compounds targeting the c-ring and bi-directionally blocking the transmembrane proton flux which drives ATP synthesis/hydrolysis, discloses new therapeutic options to fight cancer and infections sustained by therapeutically recalcitrant microorganisms. Additionally, c-ring targeting compounds may constitute new tools to eradicate undesired biofilms and to address at the molecular level the therapy of mammalian diseases linked to mitochondrial dysfunctions. In summary, studies on the only partially known molecular interactions within the c-ring of the F1FO-complex may renew hope to counteract mammalian diseases.


ATP synthase, c-ring, diarylquinolines, drug target, enzyme inhibition, macrolides, organotins.


Department of Veterinary Medical Sciences (DIMEVET), University of Bologna. Via Tolara di Sopra, 50 - 40064 Ozzano Emilia, Bologna, Italy.

Read Full-Text article