Collismycin A (CMA), a microbial product, has anti-proliferative activity against cancer cells, but the mechanism of its action remains unknown. Here, we report the identification of the molecular target of CMA by ChemProteoBase, a proteome-based approach for drug target identification. ChemProteoBase profiling showed that CMA is closely clustered with di-2-pyridylketone 4,4-dimethyl-3-thiosemicarbazone, an iron chelator. CMA bound to both Fe(II) and Fe(III) ions and formed a 2:1 chelator-iron complex with a redox-inactive center. CMA-induced cell growth inhibition was completely canceled by Fe(II) and Fe(III) ions, but not by other metal ions such as Zn(II) or Cu(II). Proteomic and transcriptomic analyses showed that CMA affects the glycolytic pathway due to the accumulation of HIF-1α. These results suggest that CMA acts as a specific iron chelator, leading to the inhibition of cancer cell growth.
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