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Pathog Dis. 2014 Apr;70(3):370-8. doi: 10.1111/2049-632X.12143. Epub 2014 Feb 24.

Reversal of Mycobacterium tuberculosis phenotypic drug resistance by 2-aminoimidazole-based small molecules.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Pathology, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, USA.


The expression of phenotypic drug resistance or drug tolerance serves as a strategy for Mycobacterium tuberculosis to survive in vivo antimicrobial drug treatment; however, the mechanisms are poorly understood. Progress toward a more in depth understanding of in vivo drug tolerance and the discovery of new therapeutic strategies designed specifically to treat drug-tolerant M. tuberculosis are hampered by the lack of appropriate in vitro assays. A library of 2-aminoimidazole-based small molecules combined with the antituberculosis drug isoniazid was screened against M. tuberculosis expressing in vitro drug tolerance as microbial communities attached to an extracellular matrix derived from lysed leukocytes. Based on the ability of nine of ten 2-aminoimidazole compounds to inhibit Mycobacterium smegmatis biofilm formation and three of ten molecules capable of dispersing established biofilms, two active candidates and one inactive control were tested against drug-tolerant M. tuberculosis. The two active compounds restored isoniazid susceptibility as well as reduced the in vitro minimum inhibitory concentrations of isoniazid in a dose-dependent manner. The dispersion of drug-tolerant M. tuberculosis with 2-aminoimidazole-based small molecules as an adjunct to antimicrobial treatment has the potential to be an effective antituberculosis treatment strategy designed specifically to eradicate drug-tolerant M. tuberculosis.

© 2014 Federation of European Microbiological Societies. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. All rights reserved.


2-aminoimidazole; biofilm; drug resistant; drug tolerant; isoniazid; tuberculosis

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