Untargeted metabolomics analysis reveals key pathways responsible for the synergistic killing of colistin and doripenem combination against Acinetobacter baumannii

Mohd Hafidz Mahamad Maifiah, Darren J Creek, Roger L Nation, Alan Forrest, Brian T Tsuji, Tony Velkov, Jian Li

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Combination therapy is deployed for the treatment of multidrug-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii, as it can rapidly develop resistance to current antibiotics. This is the first study to investigate the synergistic effect of colistin/doripenem combination on the metabolome of A. baumannii. The metabolite levels were measured using LC-MS following treatment with colistin (2 mg/L) or doripenem (25 mg/L) alone, and their combination at 15 min, 1 hr and 4 hr (n = 4). Colistin caused early (15 min and 1 hr) disruption of the bacterial outer membrane and cell wall, as demonstrated by perturbation of glycerophospholipids and fatty acids. Concentrations of peptidoglycan biosynthesis metabolites decreased at 4 hr by doripenem alone, reflecting its mechanism of action. The combination induced significant changes to more key metabolic pathways relative to either monotherapy. Down-regulation of cell wall biosynthesis (via D-sedoheptulose 7-phosphate) and nucleotide metabolism (via D-ribose 5-phosphate) was associated with perturbations in the pentose phosphate pathway induced initially by colistin (15 min and 1 hr) and later by doripenem (4 hr). We discovered that the combination synergistically killed A. baumannii via time-dependent inhibition of different key metabolic pathways. Our study highlights the significant potential of systems pharmacology in elucidating the mechanism of synergy and optimizing antibiotic pharmacokinetics/pharmacodynamics.

Original languageEnglish
Article number45527
Number of pages12
JournalScientific Reports
Publication statusPublished - 30 Mar 2017

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