Inhibition of bacterial and fungal pathogens by the orphaned drug auranofin

Beth Burgwyn Fuchs, Rajmohan Rajamuthiah, Ana Carolina Remondi Souza, Soraya Eatemadpour, Rodnei Dennis Rossoni, Daniel Assis Santos, Juliana C. Junqueira, Louis B. Rice, Eleftherios Mylonakis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Background: We identified auranofin as an antimicrobial compound utilizing a high-throughput screen using a Caenorhabditis elegans-Staphylococcus aureus infection model. Results/methodology: Treatment of infected nematodes with auranofin resulted in a prolonged survival rate of 95%, reached with 0.78 μg/ml. Further investigation of the antimicrobial activity of auranofin found inhibition against S. aureus, Enterococcus faecium and Enterococcus faecalis. Importantly, the fungal pathogens Cryptococcus neoformans was also effectively inhibited with an MIC at 0.5 μg/ml. Auranofin appears to target the thioredoxin system. Conclusion: This work provides extensive additional data on the antibacterial effects of auranofin that includes both reference and clinical isolates and reports a novel inhibition of fungal pathogens by this compound.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)117-132
Number of pages16
JournalFuture Medicinal Chemistry
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2016


  • Bucillus subtilis
  • Candida albicans
  • Cryptococcus neoformans
  • Enterococcus faecalis
  • Enterococcus faecium
  • Staphylococcus aureus
  • antimicrobial
  • auranofin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmacology
  • Drug Discovery


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