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Front. Microbiol. | doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2018.00336

Repurposing Auranofin, Ebselen, and PX-12 as Antimicrobial Agents Targeting the Thioredoxin System

 Holly C. May1,  Jieh-Juen Yu1, M. N. Guentzel1,  James P. Chambers1, Andrew P. Cap2 and  Bernard P. Arulanandam1*
  • 1South Texas Center for Emerging Infectious Disease, University of Texas at San Antonio, United States
  • 2United States Army Institute of Surgical Research, United States

As microbial resistance to drugs continues to rise at an alarming rate, finding new ways to combat pathogens is an issue of utmost importance. Development of novel and specific antimicrobial drugs is a time-consuming and expensive process. However, the re-purposing of previously tested and/or approved drugs could be a feasible way to circumvent this long and costly process. In this review, we evaluate the FDA tested drugs auranofin, ebselen, and PX-12 as antimicrobial agents targeting the thioredoxin system. These drugs have been shown to act on bacterial, fungal, protozoan, and helminth pathogens without significant toxicity to the host. We propose that the thioredoxin system could serve as a useful therapeutic target with broad spectrum antimicrobial activity.

Keywords: thioredoxin, antimicrobial, antimicrobial resistance, Flavoenzyme, drug target

Received: 09 Dec 2017; Accepted: 12 Feb 2018.

Edited by:

Anjan Debnath, University of California, San Diego, United States

Reviewed by:

Andrea Ilari, Istituto di Biologia e Patologia Molecolari (CNR), Italy
Derek Parsonage, Wake Forest School of Medicine, United States  

Copyright: © 2018 May, Yu, Guentzel, Chambers, Cap and Arulanandam. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Prof. Bernard P. Arulanandam, University of Texas at San Antonio, South Texas Center for Emerging Infectious Disease, 1 UTSA Circle, San Antonio, 78249, Texas, United States,