Screening the medicine for malaria venture's Pandemic Response Box to identify novel inhibitors of Candida albicans and Candida auris biofilm formation

Olabayo H Ajetunmobi, Ashok K Chaturvedi, Hamid Badali, Alessandra Vaccaro, Laura Najvar, Floyd L Wormley, Nathan P Wiederhold, Thomas F Patterson, Jose L Lopez-Ribot

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Candida spp. are opportunistic yeasts capable of forming biofilms, which contribute to resistance, increasing the urgency for new effective antifungal therapies. Repurposing existing drugs could significantly accelerate the development of novel therapies against candidiasis. We screened the Pandemic Response Box containing 400 diverse drug-like molecules active against bacteria, viruses or fungi, for inhibitors of Candida albicans and Candida auris biofilm formation. Initial hits were identified based on the demonstration of >70% inhibitory activity. Dose-response assays were used to confirm the antifungal activity of initial hits and establish their potency. The spectrum of antifungal activity of the leading compounds was determined against a panel of medically important fungi, and the in vivo activity of the leading repositionable agent was evaluated in murine models of C. albicans and C. auris systemic candidiasis. The primary screening identified 20 hit compounds, and their antifungal activity and potency against C. albicans and C. auris were validated using dose-response measurements. From these experiments, the rapalog everolimus, emerged as the leading repositionable candidate. Everolimus displayed potent antifungal activity against different Candida spp., but more moderate levels of activity against filamentous fungi. Treatment with everolimus increased survival of mice infected with C. albicans, but not those with C. auris. The screening of the Pandemic Response Box resulted in the identification of several drugs with novel antifungal activity, with everolimus emerging as the main repositionable candidate. Further in vitro and in vivo studies are needed to confirm its potential therapeutic use.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAPMIS : acta pathologica, microbiologica, et immunologica Scandinavica
DOIs
StateE-pub ahead of print - Jun 20 2023

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