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Small Molecule Potentiation of Gram-Positive Selective Antibiotics against Acinetobacter baumannii

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journal contribution
posted on 19.04.2019, 00:00 by Sara E. Martin, Roberta J. Melander, Christopher M. Brackett, Alison J. Scott, Courtney E. Chandler, Catherine M. Nguyen, Bradley M. Minrovic, Sarah E. Harrill, Robert K. Ernst, Colin Manoil, Christian Melander
In 2016, the World Health Organization deemed antibiotic resistance one of the biggest threats to global health, food security, and development. The need for new methods to combat infections caused by antibiotic resistant pathogens will require a variety of approaches to identifying effective new therapeutic strategies. One approach is the identification of small molecule adjuvants that potentiate the activity of antibiotics of demonstrated utility, whose efficacy is abated by resistance, both acquired and intrinsic. To this end, we have identified compounds that enhance the efficacy of antibiotics normally ineffective against Gram-negative pathogens because of the outer membrane permeability barrier. We identified two adjuvant compounds that dramatically enhance sensitivity of Acinetobacter baumannii to macrolide and glycopeptide antibiotics, with reductions in minimum inhibitory concentrations as high as 256-fold, and we observed activity across a variety of clinical isolates. Mode of action studies indicate that these adjuvants likely work by modulating lipopolysaccharide synthesis or assembly. The adjuvants were active in vivo in a Galleria mellonella infection model, indicating potential for use in mammalian infections.