Novel small molecules affecting cell membrane as potential therapeutics for avian pathogenic Escherichia coli

Dipak Kathayat, Yosra A. Helmy, Loic Deblais, Gireesh Rajashekara

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Avian pathogenic Escherichia coli (APEC), a most common bacterial pathogen of poultry, causes multiple extra-intestinal diseases in poultry which results in significant economic losses to the poultry industry worldwide. In addition, APEC are a subgroup of extra-intestinal pathogenic E. coli (ExPEC), and APEC contaminated poultry products are a potential source of foodborne ExPEC infections to humans and transfer of antimicrobial resistant genes. The emergence of multi-drug resistant APEC strains and the limited efficacy of vaccines necessitate novel APEC control approaches. Here, we screened a small molecule (SM) library and identified 11 SMs bactericidal to APEC. The identified SMs were effective against multiple APEC serotypes, biofilm embedded APEC, antimicrobials resistant APECs, and other pathogenic E. coli strains. Microscopy revealed that these SMs affect the APEC cell membrane. Exposure of SMs to APEC revealed no resistance. Most SMs showed low toxicity towards chicken and human cells and reduced the intracellular APEC load. Treatment with most SMs extended the wax moth larval survival and reduced the intra-larval APEC load. Our studies could facilitate the development of antimicrobial therapeutics for the effective management of APEC infections in poultry as well as other E. coli related foodborne zoonosis, including APEC related ExPEC infections in humans.

Original languageEnglish
Article number15329
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Dr. Tea Meulia, Molecular and Cellular Imaging Centre (, Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Centre, The Ohio State University for providing assistance with microscopy analyses. The research in Dr. Rajashekara’s laboratory was supported by National Institute for Food and Agriculture (NIFA) Grant # 2015-68004-23131, U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018, The Author(s).

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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