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Preserving Vascular Integrity Protects Mice against Multidrug-Resistant Gram-Negative Bacterial Infection.


The rise in multidrug-resistant (MDR) organisms portends a serious global threat to the health care system with nearly untreatable infectious diseases, including pneumonia and its often fatal sequelae, acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and sepsis. Gram-negative bacteria (GNB), including Acinetobacter baumannii, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and carbapenemase-producing Klebsiella pneumoniae (CPKP), are among the World Health Organization's and National Institutes of Health's high-priority MDR pathogens for targeted development of new therapies. Here, we show that stabilizing the host's vasculature by genetic deletion or pharmacological inhibition of the small GTPase ADP-ribosylation factor 6 (ARF6) increases survival rates of mice infected with A. baumannii, P. aeruginosa, and CPKP. We show that the pharmacological inhibition of ARF6-GTP phenocopies endothelium-specific Arf6 disruption in enhancing the survival of mice with A. baumannii pneumonia, suggesting that inhibition is on target. Finally, we show that the mechanism of protection elicited by these small-molecule inhibitors acts by the restoration of vascular integrity disrupted by GNB lipopolysaccharide (LPS) activation of the TLR4/MyD88/ARNO/ARF6 pathway. By targeting the host's vasculature with small-molecule inhibitors of ARF6 activation, we circumvent microbial drug resistance and provide a potential alternative/adjunctive treatment for emerging and reemerging pathogens.

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