High throughput screen identifies IFN-γ-dependent inhibitors of Toxoplasma gondii growth [article]

Joshua B Radke, Kimberly L Carey, Subrata Shaw, Shailesh R Metkar, Carol Mulrooney, Jennifer P Gale, Joshua A Bittker, Robert Hilgraf, Eamon Comer, Stuart L. Schreiber, Herbert W Virgin, Jose R Perez (+1 others)
2018 bioRxiv   pre-print
Toxoplasma gondii is an obligate intracellular parasite capable of causing severe disease due to congenital infection and in patients with compromised immune systems. Control of infection is dependent on a robust Th1 type immune response including production of interferon gamma (IFN-γ), which is essential for control. IFN-γ activates a variety of anti-microbial mechanisms in host cells, which are then able to control intracellular parasites such as T. gondii. Despite the effectiveness of these
more » ... athways in controlling acute infection, the immune system is unable to eradicate chronic infections that can persist for life. Similarly, while antibiotic treatment can control acute infection, it is unable to eliminate chronic infection. To identify compounds that would act synergistically with IFN-&γ, we performed a high-throughput screen of diverse small molecule libraries to identify inhibitors of T. gondii. We identified a number of compounds that inhibited parasite growth in vitro at low µM concentrations and that demonstrated enhanced potency in the presence of low level of IFN-γ. A subset of these compounds act by enhancing the recruitment of LC3 to the parasite-containing vacuole, suggesting they work by an autophagy-related process, while others were independent of this pathway. The pattern of IFN-γ-dependence was shared among the majority of analogs from 6 priority scaffolds and analysis of structure activity relationships for one such class revealed specific stereochemistry associated with this feature. Identification of these IFN-γ-dependent leads may lead to development of improved therapeutics due to their synergistic interactions with immune responses.
doi:10.1101/336818 fatcat:doydrivfmzba5crodamswg3zmi