A macrophage-based screen identifies antibacterial compounds selective for intracellular Salmonella Typhimurium. Academic Article uri icon


  • Salmonella Typhimurium (S. Tm) establishes systemic infection in susceptible hosts by evading the innate immune response and replicating within host phagocytes. Here, we sought to identify inhibitors of intracellular S. Tm replication by conducting parallel chemical screens against S. Tm growing in macrophage-mimicking media and within macrophages. We identify several compounds that inhibit Salmonella growth in the intracellular environment and in acidic, ion-limited media. We report on the antimicrobial activity of the psychoactive drug metergoline, which is specific against intracellular S. Tm. Screening an S. Tm deletion library in the presence of metergoline reveals hypersensitization of outer membrane mutants to metergoline activity. Metergoline disrupts the proton motive force at the bacterial cytoplasmic membrane and extends animal survival during a systemic S. Tm infection. This work highlights the predictive nature of intracellular screens for in vivo efficacy, and identifies metergoline as a novel antimicrobial active against Salmonella.

published proceedings

  • Nat Commun

altmetric score

  • 82.644

author list (cited authors)

  • Ellis, M. J., Tsai, C. N., Johnson, J. W., French, S., Elhenawy, W., Porwollik, S., ... Brown, E. D.

citation count

  • 36

complete list of authors

  • Ellis, Michael J||Tsai, Caressa N||Johnson, Jarrod W||French, Shawn||Elhenawy, Wael||Porwollik, Steffen||Andrews-Polymenis, Helene||McClelland, Michael||Magolan, Jakob||Coombes, Brian K||Brown, Eric D

publication date

  • January 2019