Structure of mycobacterial CIII < sub > 2 < /sub > CIV < sub > 2 < /sub > respiratory supercomplex bound to the tuberculosis drug candidate telacebec (Q203)
The imidazopyridine telacebec, also known as Q203, is one of only a few new classes of compounds in more than fifty years with demonstrated antituberculosis activity in humans. Telacebec inhibits the mycobacterial respiratory supercomplex composed of complexes III and IV (CIII2CIV2). In mycobacterial electron transport chains, CIII2CIV2 replaces canonical CIII and CIV, transferring electrons from the intermediate carrier menaquinol to the final acceptor, molecular oxygen, while simultaneously transferring protons across the inner membrane to power ATP synthesis. We show that telacebec inhibits the menaquinol:oxygen oxidoreductase activity of purifiedMycobacterium smegmatis CIII2CIV2 at concentrations similar to those needed to inhibit electron transfer in mycobacterial membranes andMycobacterium tuberculosis growth in culture. We then used electron cryomicroscopy (cryoEM) to determine structures of CIII2CIV2 both in the presence and absence of telacebec. The structures suggest that telacebec prevents menaquinol oxidation by blocking two different menaquinol binding modes to prevent CIII2CIV2 activity.