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Despite the remarkable advances due to the discovery and development of antimicrobials agents, infectious diseases remain the second leading cause of death worldwide. This fact underlines the importance of developing new therapeutic strategies to address the widespread antibiotic resistance, which is the major contributing factor for clinical failures of the current therapeutics. In a screen for antibiotic adjuvants, we identified a natural product from actinomycetes, venturicidin A (VentA), that potentiates the aminoglycoside antibiotic gentamicin against multidrug-resistant clinical isolates of Staphylococcus, Enterococcus, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Furthermore, the combination of gentamicin and VentA was bactericidal and rapidly eradicated methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA). The molecular mechanism of gentamicin potentiation activity is attributed to uncoupling of ATP synthesis by VentA from electron transport presumably by blocking the proton flow through ATP synthase, which results in an elevated concentration of extracellular protons and subsequent anticipated raise in gentamicin uptake. The disruption of the proton flux was characterized by perturbed membrane potential in MRSA. These results demonstrate that inhibition of ATP synthase along with the subsequent membrane dysregulation, as shown here with VentA, complements aminoglycoside antibiotics against MDR bacteria, and that this approach may be employed to combat bacterial resistance.


Venkateswarlu Yarlagadda, Ricardo Medina, Gerard D Wright. Venturicidin A, A Membrane-active Natural Product Inhibitor of ATP synthase Potentiates Aminoglycoside Antibiotics. Scientific reports. 2020 May 18;10(1):8134

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PMID: 32424122

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