Targeting Two-Component Systems Uncovers a Small-Molecule Inhibitor of Salmonella Virulence
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Salmonella serovars are leading causes of gastrointestinal disease and have become increasingly resistant to fluoroquinolone and cephalosporin antibiotics. Overcoming this healthcare crisis requires new approaches in antibiotic discovery and the identification of unique bacterial targets. In this work, we describe a chemical genomics approach to identify inhibitors of Salmonella virulence. From a cell-based, promoter reporter screen of ∼50,000 small molecules, we identified dephostatin as a non-antibiotic compound that inhibits intracellular virulence factors and polymyxin resistance genes. Dephostatin disrupts signaling through both the SsrA-SsrB and PmrB-PmrA two-component regulatory systems and restores sensitivity to the last-resort antibiotic, colistin. Cell-based experiments and mouse models of infection demonstrate that dephostatin attenuates Salmonella virulence in vitro and in vivo, suggesting that perturbing regulatory networks is a promising strategy for the development of anti-infectives.
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