A drug-repositioning screening identifies pentetic acid as a potential therapeutic agent for suppressing the elastase-mediated virulence of Pseudomonas aeruginosa

Mia Gi, Junhui Jeong, Keehoon Lee, Kang Mu Lee, Masanori Toyofuku, Dong Eun Yong, Sang Sun Yoon, Young Jae, Choia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

16 Citations (Scopus)


Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a Gram-negative bacterium of clinical significance, produces elastase as a predominant exoprotease. Here, we screened a library of chemical compounds currently used for human medication and identified diethylene triamine penta-acetic acid (DTPA, pentetic acid) as an agent that suppresses the production of elastase. Elastase activity found in the prototype P. aeruginosa strain PAO1 was significantly decreased when grown with a concentration as low as 20 -MDTPA. Supplementation with Zn2- or Mn2- ions restored the suppressive effect of DTPA, suggesting that the DTPA-mediated decrease in elastase activity is associated with ion-chelating activity. In DTPA-treated PAO1 cells, transcription of the elastase-encoding lasB gene and levels of the Pseudomonas quinolone signal (PQS), a molecule that mediates P. aeruginosa quorum sensing (QS), were significantly downregulated, reflecting the potential involvement of the PQS QS system in DTPA-mediated elastase suppression. Biofilm formation was also decreased by DTPA treatment. When A549 alveolar type II-like adenocarcinoma cells were infected with PAO1 cells in the presence of DTPA, A549 cell viability was substantially increased. Furthermore, the intranasal delivery of DTPA to PAO1-infected mice alleviated the pathogenic effects of PAO1 cells in the animals. Together, our results revealed a novel function for a known molecule that may help treat P. aeruginosa airway infection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7205-7214
Number of pages10
JournalAntimicrobial agents and chemotherapy
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Dec 1


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases

Cite this