Repurposing Nonantifungal Approved Drugs for Synergistic Targeting of Fungal Pathogens.
ACS Infect Dis. 2020 Nov 03;:
Authors: Vallières C, Singh N, Alexander C, Avery SV
With the spread of drug resistance, new antimicrobials are urgently needed. Here, we set out to tackle this problem by high-throughput exploration for novel antifungal synergies among combinations of approved, nonantifungal drugs; a novel strategy exploiting the potential of alternative targets, low chemicals usage and low development risk. We screened the fungal pathogen Candida albicans by combining a small panel of nonantifungal drugs (all in current use for other clinical applications) with 1280 compounds from an approved drug library. Screens at sublethal concentrations of the antibiotic paromomycin (PM), the antimalarial primaquine (PQ), or the anti-inflammatory drug ibuprofen (IF) revealed a total of 17 potential strong, synergistic interactions with the library compounds. Susceptibility testing with the most promising combinations corroborated marked synergies [fractional inhibitory concentration (FIC) indices ≤0.5] between PM + β-escin, PQ + celecoxib, and IF + pentamidine, reducing the MICs of PM, PQ, and IF in C. albicans by >64-, 16-, and 8-fold, respectively. Paromomycin + β-escin and PQ + celecoxib were effective also against C. albicans biofilms, azole-resistant clinical isolates, and other fungal pathogens. Actions were specific, as no synergistic effect was observed in mammalian cells. Mode of action was investigated for one of the combinations, revealing that PM + β-escin synergistically increase the error-rate of mRNA translation and suggesting a different molecular target to current antifungals. The study unveils the potential of the described combinatorial strategy in enabling acceleration of drug-repurposing discovery for combatting fungal pathogens.
PMID: 33141557 [PubMed – as supplied by publisher]