Infections caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis and other mycobacteria are major challenges for global public health. Particularly worrisome are infections caused by multidrug-resistant bacteria, which are increasingly difficult to treat because of the loss of efficacy of the current antibacterial agents, a problem that continues to escalate worldwide. There has been a limited interest and investment on the development of new antibacterial agents in the past decades. This has led to the current situation, in which there is an urgent demand for innovative therapeutic alternatives to fight infections caused by multidrug-resistant pathogens, such as multidrug-resistant tuberculosis. The identification of compounds that can act as adjuvants in antimycobacterial therapeutic regimens is an appealing strategy to restore the efficacy lost by some of the antibiotics currently used and shorten the duration of the therapeutic regimen. In this work, by setting Mycobacterium smegmatis as a model organism, we have developed a methodological strategy to identify, in a fast and simple approach, compounds with antimycobacterial activity or with potential adjuvant properties, by either inhibition of efflux or other unrelated mechanisms. Such an approach may increase the rate of identification of promising molecules, to be further explored in pathogenic models for their potential use either as antimicrobials or as adjuvants, in combination with available therapeutic regimens for the treatment of mycobacterial infections. This method allowed us to identify a new molecule that shows promising activity as an efflux inhibitor in M. smegmatis.
- Efflux inhibitor