Characterization of five novel anti-mrsa compounds identified using a whole-animal caenorhabditis elegans/galleria mellonella sequential-screening approach

Rajamohammed Khader, Nagendran Tharmalingam, Biswajit Mishra, Lewisoscar Felix, Frederick M. Ausubel, Michael J. Kelso, Eleftherios Mylonakis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


There is a significant need to combat the growing challenge of antibacterial drug resistance. We have previously developed a whole-animal dual-screening platform that first used the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, to identify low-toxicity antibacterial hits in a high-throughput format. The hits were then evaluated in the wax moth caterpillar Galleria mellonella infection model to confirm efficacy and low toxicity at a whole animal level. This multi-host approach is a powerful tool for revealing compounds that show antibacterial effects and relatively low toxicity at the whole organism level. This paper reports the use of the multi-host approach to identify and validate five new anti-staphylococcal compounds: (1) 4,4,4”-(4-propyl-[1H]-pyrazole-1,3,5-triyl)trisphenol(PPT), (2) (1S,2S)-2-[2-[[3-(1H-benzimidazol-2-yl)propyl]methylamino]ethyl]-6-fluoro-1,2,3,4-tetrahydro-1-(1-methylethyl)-2-naphthalenyl cyclopropanecarboxylate dihydrochloride(NNC), (3) 4,5,6,7-tetrabromobe nzotriazole (TBB), (4) 3-[2-[2-chloro-4-[3-(2,6-dichlorophenyl)-5-(1-methylethyl)-4-isoxazolyl]methoxy] phenyl]ethenyl] benzoic acid(GW4064), and (5) N-(cyclopropylmethoxy)-3,4,5-trifluoro-2-[(4-iodo-2-methylphenyl)amino] benzamide(PD198306). The compounds reduced the severity of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA, strain MW2) infections in both C. elegans and G. mellonella and showed minimal inhibitory concentrations (MICs) in the range of 2–8 µg/mL. Compounds NNC, PPT, and TBB permeabilized MRSA-MW2 cells to SYTOX green, suggesting that they target bacterial membranes. Compound TBB showed synergistic activity with doxycycline and oxacillin against MRSA-MW2, and compounds PPT, NNC, GW4064, and PD198306 synergized with doxycycline, polymyxin-B, gentamicin, and erythromycin, respectively. The study demonstrates the utility of the multi-host approach with follow-up hit characterization for prioritizing anti-MRSA compounds for further evaluation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number449
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2020


  • Antibiotic
  • Caenorhabditis elegans
  • Galleria mellonella
  • High-throughput screening (HTS), MRSA
  • MIC

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Biochemistry
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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