Inhibitors of type II NADH:menaquinone oxidoreductase represent a class of antitubercular drugs
Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) is an obligate aerobe that is capable of long-term persistence under conditions of low oxygen tension. Analysis of the Mtb genome predicts the existence of a branched aerobic respiratory chain terminating in a cytochrome bd system and a cytochrome aa(3) system. Both chains can be initiated with type II NADH:menaquinone oxidoreductase. We present a detailed biochemical characterization of the aerobic respiratory chains from Mtb and show that phenothiazine analogs specifically inhibit NADH:menaquinone oxidoreductase activity. The emergence of drug-resistant strains of Mtb has prompted a search for antimycobacterial agents. Several phenothiazines analogs are highly tuberculocidal in vitro, suppress Mtb growth in a mouse model of acute infection, and represent lead compounds that may give rise to a class of selective antibiotics.