The team screened each drug for its ability to reduce intracellular bacterial growth by 80% or more inside human THP-1 macrophage-like immune cells. They eliminated drugs from the list that simply killed off the human host cells or that were known antibiotic or antiviral drugs and identified 101 drugs that presumably disrupt key cellular functions in the host cells.
Shuman's lab group did the experiments on C. brunetii and L. pneumophila, while Sean Crosson's group at University of Chicago carried out the B. abortus work, and Juan Martinez's group, now at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, performed the R. conorii studies. The work, which was done at the Howard T. Ricketts Laboratory, a biocontainment laboratory operated by the University of Chicago in Lemont, Illinois, shows that known drugs that interfere with host cell properties can stall intracellular bacterial infections.
"There are emerging infections of all sortsbacteria, viruses, parasites. Working up a new therapy for such things take time," says Shuman. "If we have drugs X, Y, or Z to interfere with host cell functions to slow or impede an infection, then we can have something already on hand to attack it."
|Contact: Jim Sliwa|
American Society for Microbiology