Conventional antibiotics are not effective in treating infections caused by drug-resistant or persistent nongrowing bacteria, creating a dire need for the development of new antibiotics. We report that the small molecule nTZDpa, previously characterized as a nonthiazolidinedione peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma partial agonist, kills both growing and persistent Staphylococcus aureus cells by lipid bilayer disruption. S. aureus exhibited no detectable development of resistance to nTZDpa, and the compound acted synergistically with aminoglycosides. We improved both the potency and selectivity of nTZDpa against MRSA membranes compared to mammalian membranes by leveraging synthetic chemistry guided by molecular dynamics simulations. These studies provide key insights into the design of selective and potent membrane-active antibiotics effective against bacterial persisters.
- MD simulations
- membrane-active agent