Identification of anti-persister activity against uropathogenic escherichia coli from a clinical drug library

Hongxia Niu, Peng Cui, Wanliang Shi, Shuo Zhang, Jie Feng, Yong Wang, David Sullivan, Wenhong Zhang, Bingdong Zhu, Ying Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Uropathogenic E. coli is a major cause of urinary tract infections (UTIs), but current antibiotics do not always effectively clear the persistent infection. To identify drugs that eliminate uropathogenic E. coli persisters, we screened a clinical drug library consisting of 1524 compounds using high throughput drug exposure assay in 96-well plates. Bacterial survival was assessed by growth on LB plates. We identified 14 drug candidates (tosufloxacin, colistin, sparfloxacin, moxifloxacin and gatifloxacin, enrofloxacin and sarafloxacin, octodrine, clofoctol, dibekacin, cephalosporin C, pazufloxacin, streptomycin and neomycin), which had high anti-persister activity. Among them, tosufloxacin and colistin had the highest anti-persister activity and could completely eradicate E. coli persisters in 3 days in vitro while the current UTI antibiotics failed to do so. Our findings may have implications for the development of a more effective treatment for UTIs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)179-187
Number of pages9
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 12 2015


  • Anti-persister activity
  • Clinical drug library
  • Escherichia coli
  • Persisters
  • Urinary tract infection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Biochemistry
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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