Gallium disrupts iron uptake by intracellular and extracellular Francisella strains and exhibits therapeutic efficacy in a murine pulmonary infection model

Oyebode Olakanmi, John S. Gunn, Shengchang Su, Shilpa Soni, Daniel J. Hassett, Bradley E. Britigan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

32 Scopus citations

Abstract

Francisella tularensis requires iron (Fe) for growth, but the biologic sources of Fe for this organism are largely unknown. We found that Francisella sp. growing in broth culture or within human macrophages can acquire Fe from the two major host Fe-binding proteins, lactoferrin (Lf) and transferrin (Tf). Fe acquisition is a potential target for novel therapies. Gallium (Ga) is a transition metal that interferes with cellular Fe metabolism by competing with Fe for uptake/utilization. Growth of either F. tularensis live vaccine strain (LVS) or Francisella novicida was inhibited by ≥2 μM Ga chelated to Tf or Lf, with GaLf being somewhat more potent. Francisella spp. express two Fe-containing antioxidant enzymes, catalase (KatG) and Fe cofactored superoxide dismutase (FeSOD). Growth of LVS with 10 μM GaTf or GaLf led to a dramatic decrease in bacterial catalase activity and in FeSOD activity that was associated with an increased susceptibility to H2O2. Ga also protected mice from intranasal challenge with F. novicida. Whereas 100% of the F. novicida-infected mice died by day 9, 75% of the mice receiving Ga continued to survive to at least day 15. Thus, a single intranasal dose of Ga followed by daily intraperitoneal Ga at a dose tolerated by the animals resulted in prolonged survival. These data support the potential utility of Ga as a therapy for F. tularensis infection of the lung.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)244-253
Number of pages10
JournalAntimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy
Volume54
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases

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