In an effort to discover new drugs to treat tuberculosis (TB) we chose alanine racemase as the target of our drug discovery efforts. In Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the causative agent of TB, alanine racemase plays an essential role in cell wall synthesis as it racemizes L-alanine into D-alanine, a key building block in the biosynthesis of peptidoglycan. Good antimicrobial effects have been achieved by inhibition of this enzyme with suicide substrates, but the clinical utility of this class of inhibitors is limited due to their lack of target specificity and toxicity. Therefore, inhibitors that are not substrate analogs and that act through different mechanisms of enzyme inhibition are necessary for therapeutic development for this drug target.
Anthony, K. G., Strych, U., Yeung, K. R., Shoen, C. S., Perez, O., Krause, K. L., … Koski, R. A. (2011). New classes of alanine racemase inhibitors identified by high-throughput screening show antimicrobial activity against mycobacterium tuberculosis. PLoS ONE, 6(5). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0020374