Scientific article
Open access

Exploring Anti-Bacterial Compounds against Intracellular Legionella

Published inPloS one, vol. 8, no. 9, e74813
Publication date2013

Legionella pneumophila is a ubiquitous fresh-water bacterium which reproduces within its erstwhile predators, environmental amoeba, by subverting the normal pathway of phagocytosis and degradation. The molecular mechanisms which confer resistance to amoeba are apparently conserved and also allow replication within macrophages. Thus, L. pneumophila can act as an 'accidental' human pathogen and cause a severe pneumonia known as Legionnaires' disease. The intracellular localisation of L. pneumophila protects it from some antibiotics, and this fact must be taken into account to develop new anti-bacterial compounds. In addition, the intracellular lifestyle of L. pneumophila may render the bacteria susceptible to compounds diminishing bacterial virulence and decreasing intracellular survival and replication of this pathogen. The development of a single infection cycle intracellular replication assay using GFP-producing L. pneumophila and Acanthamoebacastellanii amoeba is reported here. This fluorescence-based assay allows for continuous monitoring of intracellular replication rates, revealing the effect of bacterial gene deletions or drug treatment. To examine how perturbations of the host cell affect L. pneumophila replication, several known host-targeting compounds were tested, including modulators of cytoskeletal dynamics, vesicle scission and Ras GTPase localisation. Our results reveal a hitherto unrealized potential antibiotic property of the β-lactone-based Ras depalmitoylation inhibitor palmostatin M, but not the closely related inhibitor palmostatin B. Further characterisation indicated that this compound caused specific growth inhibition of Legionella and Mycobacterium species, suggesting that it may act on a common bacterial target.

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Citation (ISO format)
HARRISON, Christopher F et al. Exploring Anti-Bacterial Compounds against Intracellular Legionella. In: PloS one, 2013, vol. 8, n° 9, p. e74813. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0074813
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ISSN of the journal1932-6203

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