Antibiotics (Basel). 2021 Jun 16;10(6):727. doi: 10.3390/antibiotics10060727.
Our recent focus on the "lost antibiotic" unguinol and related nidulin-family fungal natural products identified two semisynthetic derivatives, benzguinols A and B, with unexpected in vitro activity against Staphylococcus aureus isolates either susceptible or resistant to methicillin. Here, we show further activity of the benzguinols against methicillin-resistant isolates of the animal pathogen Staphylococcus pseudintermedius, with minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) ranging 0.5-1 μg/mL. When combined with sub-inhibitory concentrations of colistin, the benzguinols demonstrated synergy against Gram-negative reference strains of Acinetobacter baumannii, Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa (MICs of 1-2 μg/mL in the presence of colistin), whereas the benzguinols alone had no activity. Administration of three intraperitoneal (IP) doses of 20 mg/kg benzguinol A or B to mice did not result in any obvious adverse clinical or pathological evidence of acute toxicity. Importantly, mice that received three 20 mg/kg IP doses of benzguinol A or B at 4 h intervals exhibited significantly reduced bacterial loads and longer survival times than vehicle-only treated mice in a bioluminescent S. aureus murine sepsis challenge model. We conclude that the benzguinols are potential candidates for further development for specific treatment of serious bacterial infections as both stand-alone antibiotics and in combination with existing antibiotic classes.