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Virstatin is an inhibitor of the virulence transcriptional activator ToxT of V. cholerae. It prevents expression of the two major V. cholerae virulence factors, cholera toxin (CT) and the toxin coregulated pilus, by inhibiting ToxT.

Inhibitors containing Unusual Amino Acids
Catalog number
CAS number
Molecular Formula
Molecular Weight
4-(1,3-dioxobenzo[de]isoquinolin-2-yl)butanoic acid
Isodibut; 4-(1,3-Dioxo-1H,3H-benzo[de]isoquinolin-2-yl)-butyric acid; 4-(1,3-dioxo-1H-benzo[de]isoquinolin-2(3H)-yl)butanoic acid; 4-(N-(1,8-naphthalimide))-n-butyric acid; 1,3-Dioxo-1H-benz(de)isoquinoline-2(3H)-butanoic acid
Off-white to Yellow Solid
1.40 g/cm3
Melting Point
Boiling Point
536.52±33.0°C at 760 mmHg
Store at -20°C
Soluble in DMF, DMSO
InChI Key
Canonical SMILES
1. Virstatin inhibits biofilm formation and motility of Acinetobacter baumannii
Marion Nicol, Yassine Nait Chabane, Thierry Jouenne, Emmanuelle Dé, Sara Marti, Jordi Vila, Martine Pestel-Caron, Stéphane Alexandre, Mohamed Ben Mlouka BMC Microbiol . 2014 Mar 12;14:62. doi: 10.1186/1471-2180-14-62.
Background:Acinetobacter baumannii has emerged as an opportunistic nosocomial pathogen causing infections worldwide. One reason for this emergence is due to its natural ability to survive in the hospital environment, which may be explained by its capacity to form biofilms. Cell surface appendages are important determinants of the A. baumannii biofilm formation and as such constitute interesting targets to prevent the development of biofilm-related infections. A chemical agent called virstatin was recently described to impair the virulence of Vibrio cholerae by preventing the expression of its virulence factor, the toxin coregulated pilus (type IV pilus). The objective of this work was to investigate the potential effect of virstatin on A. baumannii biofilms.Results:After a dose-response experiment, we determined that 100 μM virstatin led to an important decrease (38%) of biofilms formed by A. baumannii ATCC17978 grown under static mode. We demonstrated that the production of biofilms grown under dynamic mode was also delayed and reduced. The biofilm susceptibility to virstatin was then tested for 40 clinical and reference A. baumannii strains. 70% of the strains were susceptible to virstatin (with a decrease of 10 to 65%) when biofilms grew in static mode, whereas 60% of strains respond to the treatment when their biofilms grew in dynamic mode. As expected, motility and atomic force microscopy experiments showed that virstatin acts on the A. baumannii pili biogenesis.Conclusions:By its action on pili biogenesis, virstatin demonstrated a very promising antibiofilm activity affecting more than 70% of the A. baumannii clinical isolates.
2. Interaction of virstatin with human serum albumin: spectroscopic analysis and molecular modeling
Pinak Chakrabarti, Barun K Chatterjee, Tanaya Chatterjee, Sucharita Dey, Aritrika Pal PLoS One . 2012;7(5):e37468. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0037468.
Virstatin is a small molecule that inhibits Vibrio cholerae virulence regulation, the causative agent for cholera. Here we report the interaction of virstatin with human serum albumin (HSA) using various biophysical methods. The drug binding was monitored using different isomeric forms of HSA (N form ~pH 7.2, B form ~pH 9.0 and F form ~pH 3.5) by absorption and fluorescence spectroscopy. There is a considerable quenching of the intrinsic fluorescence of HSA on binding the drug. The distance (r) between donor (Trp214 in HSA) and acceptor (virstatin), obtained from Forster-type fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET), was found to be 3.05 nm. The ITC data revealed that the binding was an enthalpy-driven process and the binding constants K(a) for N and B isomers were found to be 6.09×10(5 )M(-1) and 4.47×10(5) M(-1), respectively. The conformational changes of HSA due to the interaction with the drug were investigated from circular dichroism (CD) and Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy. For 1:1 molar ratio of the protein and the drug the far-UV CD spectra showed an increase in α- helicity for all the conformers of HSA, and the protein is stabilized against urea and thermal unfolding. Molecular docking studies revealed possible residues involved in the protein-drug interaction and indicated that virstatin binds to Site I (subdomain IIA), also known as the warfarin binding site.
3. Accessory cholera enterotoxin, Ace, from Vibrio cholerae: structure, unfolding, and virstatin binding
Pinak Chakrabarti, Kazi Mirajul Hoque, Tanaya Chatterjee, Sucharita Dey, Aritrika Pal, Debadrita Mukherjee Biochemistry . 2011 Apr 12;50(14):2962-72. doi: 10.1021/bi101673x.
Vibrio cholerae accessory cholera enterotoxin (Ace) is the third toxin, along with cholera toxin (CT) and zonula occludens toxin (Zot), that causes the endemic disease cholera. Structural characterization of Ace has been restricted because of the limited production of this toxic protein by V. cholerae. We have cloned, overexpressed, and purified Ace from V. cholerae strain O395 in Escherichia coli to homogeneity and determined its biological activity. The unfolding of the purified protein was investigated using circular dichroism and intrinsic tryptophan fluorescence. Because Ace is predominantly a hydrophobic protein, the degree of exposure of hydrophobic regions was identified from the spectral changes of the environment-sensitive fluorescent probe 4,4'-dianilino-1,1'-binaphthyl-5,5'-disulfonic acid (bis-ANS) that quenches the fluorescence of tryptophan residues of Ace in a concentration-dependent manner. Results showed that bis-ANS binds one monomeric unit of Ace with a 1:1 stoichiometry and a K' of 0.72 μM. Ace exists as a dimer, with higher oligomeric forms appearing upon glutaraldehyde cross-linking. This study also reports the binding of virstatin, a small molecule that inhibits virulence regulation in V. cholerae, to Ace. The binding constant (K=9×10(4) M(-1)) and the standard free energy change (ΔG°=-12 kcal mol(-1)) of Ace-virstatin interaction have been evaluated by the fluorescence quenching method. The binding does not affect the oligomeric status of Ace. A cell viability assay of the antibacterial activity of Ace has been performed using various microbial strains. A homology model of Ace, consistent with the experimental results, has been constructed.
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