Developing Synergistic Drug Combinations To Restore Antibiotic Sensitivity in Drug-Resistant Mycobacterium tuberculosis

  • 10.1128/aac.02554-20
  • Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy
  • Volume 65, Issue 5,
  • journal-article
ABSTRACT Tuberculosis (TB) is a leading global cause of mortality owing to an infectious agent, accounting for almost one-third of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) deaths annually. We aimed to identify synergistic anti-TB drug combinations with the capacity to restore therapeutic efficacy against drug-resistant mutants of the causative agent, Mycobacterium tuberculosis. We investigated combinations containing the known translational inhibitors, spectinomycin (SPT) and fusidic acid (FA), or the phenothiazine, chlorpromazine (CPZ), which disrupts mycobacterial energy metabolism. Potentiation of whole-cell drug efficacy was observed in SPT-CPZ combinations. This effect was lost against an M. tuberculosis mutant lacking the major facilitator superfamily (MFS) efflux pump, Rv1258c. Notably, the SPT-CPZ combination partially restored SPT efficacy against an SPT-resistant mutant carrying a g1379t point mutation in rrs, encoding the mycobacterial 16S rRNA. Combinations of SPT with FA, which targets the mycobacterial elongation factor G, exhibited potentiating activity against wild-type M. tuberculosis. Moreover, this combination produced a modest potentiating effect against both FA-monoresistant and SPT-monoresistant mutants. Finally, combining SPT with the frontline anti-TB agents, rifampicin (RIF) and isoniazid, resulted in enhanced activity in vitro and ex vivo against both drug-susceptible M. tuberculosis and a RIF-monoresistant rpoB S531L mutant. These results support the utility of novel potentiating drug combinations in restoring antibiotic susceptibility of M. tuberculosis strains carrying genetic resistance to any one of the partner compounds.