Identification of small molecules that interfere with c-di-GMP signaling and induce dispersal of Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilms

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Microbial biofilms are involved in a number of infections that cannot be cured, as microbes in biofilms resist host immune defenses and antibiotic therapies. With no strict biofilm-antibiotic in the current pipelines, there is an unmet need for drug candidates that enable the current antibiotics to eradicate bacteria in biofilms. We used high-throughput screening to identify chemical compounds that reduce the intracellular c-di-GMP content in Pseudomonas aeruginosa. This led to the identification of a small molecule that efficiently depletes P. aeruginosa for c-di-GMP, inhibits biofilm formation, and disperses established biofilm. A combination of our lead compound with standard of care antibiotics showed improved eradication of an implant-associated infection established in mice. Genetic analyses provided evidence that the anti-biofilm compound stimulates the activity of the c-di-GMP phosphodiesterase BifA in P. aeruginosa. Our work constitutes a proof of concept for c-di-GMP phosphodiesterase-activating drugs administered in combination with antibiotics as a viable treatment strategy for otherwise recalcitrant infections.

Original languageEnglish
Article number59
Journalnpj Biofilms and Microbiomes
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 2021

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