A Marine Antibiotic Kills Multidrug-Resistant Bacteria without Detectable High-Level Resistance

ACS Infect Dis. 2021 Mar 3. doi: 10.1021/acsinfecdis.0c00913. Online ahead of print.


Antibiotic resistance nowadays is spreading much faster than the introduction of new antibiotics into clinical practice. There is an urgent need for potential compounds to combat multidrug-resistant (MDR) bacteria. Marine fungi provide a promising source for chemical diversity with antibiotic-like molecules. To identify structurally distinct compounds that effectively eradicate MDR pathogens and to control the development of antibiotic resistance, we have reinvestigated equisetin, a previously reported meroterpenoid isolated from a marine sponge-derived fungus. Equisetin exerted efficient antibacterial activities against either MRSA or VRE without detectable high-level resistance. Meanwhile, equisetin, as an antibiotic adjuvant, restores colistin susceptibility to colistin-resistant bacteria toward diverse Gram-negative pathogens. Intriguingly, the low-level equisetin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus displayed collateral sensitivity to multiple classes of existing antibiotics with decreased capacity to produce biofilm. Lastly, equisetin showed efficacy with MRSA in three infected animal models. This work suggests that equisetin derived from marine natural products is a promising lead to overcome antibiotic resistance, providing new insight in future antibiotic discovery and development.

PMID:33653026 | DOI:10.1021/acsinfecdis.0c00913