Int J Med Sci 2018; 15(6):617-627. doi:10.7150/ijms.23924 This issue

Research Paper

Anti-biofilm and Anti-Virulence Efficacy of Celastrol Against Stenotrophomonas maltophilia

Hye-Rim Kim1, Dongsup Lee2, Yong-Bin Eom1✉

1. Department of Biomedical Laboratory Science, College of Medical Sciences, Soonchunhyang University, Asan, Chungnam 31538, Republic of Korea
2. Department of Clinical Laboratory Science, Hyejeon College, Hongseoung, Chungnam 32244, Republic of Korea

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Kim HR, Lee D, Eom YB. Anti-biofilm and Anti-Virulence Efficacy of Celastrol Against Stenotrophomonas maltophilia. Int J Med Sci 2018; 15(6):617-627. doi:10.7150/ijms.23924. Available from

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Stenotrophomonas maltophilia is a multi-drug resistant opportunistic pathogen that causes nosocomial infections in immunocompromised patients. This pathogen is difficult to treat owing to its intrinsic multidrug resistance and ability to form antimicrobial-tolerant biofilms. In the present study, we aimed to assess the potential use of celastrol as a novel anti-biofilm and/or anti-virulence agent against S. maltophilia. Results showed that celastrol at its sub-inhibitory doses decreased biofilm formation and disrupt the established biofilms produced by S. maltophilia. Celastrol-induced decrease in biofilm formation was dose-dependent based on the results of the microtiter plate biofilm assays and confocal laser scanning microscopy. In addition, our data validated the anti-virulence efficacy of celastrol, wherein it significantly interfered with the production of protease and motility of S. maltophilia. To support these phenotypic results, transcriptional analysis revealed that celastrol down-regulated the expression of biofilm- and virulence- associated genes (smeYZ, fsnR, and bfmAK) in S. maltophilia. Interestingly, celastrol significantly inhibited the expression of smeYZ gene, which encodes the resistance-nodulation-division (RND)-type efflux pump, SmeYZ. Overall, our findings suggested that celastrol might be a promising bioactive agent for treatment of biofilm- and virulence-related infections caused by the multi-drug resistant S. maltophilia.

Keywords: Celastrol, Stenotrophomonas maltophilia, Anti-biofilm, Anti-virulence, Resistance-nodulation-division (RND)-type efflux pump