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Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2017 Oct 24;61(11). pii: e01202-17. doi: 10.1128/AAC.01202-17. Print 2017 Nov.

Impact of Type III Secretion Effectors and of Phenoxyacetamide Inhibitors of Type III Secretion on Abscess Formation in a Mouse Model of Pseudomonas aeruginosa Infection.

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Department of Microbiology/Immunology, Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois, USA.
Microbiotix, Inc., Worcester, Massachusetts, USA.
Department of Microbiology/Immunology, Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois, USA
Department of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois, USA.


Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a leading cause of intra-abdominal infections, wound infections, and community-acquired folliculitis, each of which may involve macro- or microabscess formation. The rising incidence of multidrug resistance among P. aeruginosa isolates has increased both the economic burden and the morbidity and mortality associated with P. aeruginosa disease and necessitates a search for novel therapeutics. Previous work from our group detailed novel phenoxyacetamide inhibitors that block type III secretion and injection into host cells in vitro In this study, we used a mouse model of P. aeruginosa abscess formation to test the in vivo efficacy of these compounds against the P. aeruginosa type III secretion system (T3SS). Bacteria used the T3SS to intoxicate infiltrating neutrophils to establish abscesses. Despite this antagonism, sufficient numbers of functioning neutrophils remained for proper containment of the abscesses, as neutrophil depletion resulted in an increased abscess size, the formation of dermonecrotic lesions on the skin, and the dissemination of P. aeruginosa to internal organs. Consistent with the specificity of the T3SS-neutrophil interaction, P. aeruginosa bacteria lacking a functional T3SS were fully capable of causing abscesses in a neutropenic host. Phenoxyacetamide inhibitors attenuated abscess formation and aided in the immune clearance of the bacteria. Finally, a P. aeruginosa strain resistant to the phenoxyacetamide compound was fully capable of causing abscess formation even in the presence of the T3SS inhibitors. Together, our results further define the role of type III secretion in murine abscess formation and demonstrate the in vivo efficacy of phenoxyacetamide inhibitors in P. aeruginosa infection.


Pseudomonas aeruginosa; abscesses; neutrophils; phenoxyacetamide inhibitors; type III secretion

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