2008 Volume 31 Issue 7 Pages 1327-1332
S-Benzylisothiourea compound A22 induces coccoid forms in Escherichia coli by inhibiting the function of the actin-like cytoskeletal protein, MreB. The minimum inhibitory concentration of A22 and the minimum concentration to induce coccoid forms for various pathogenic bacteria were determined. At 10 μg/ml, A22 induced coccoid forms in Shigella flexneri but did not inhibit the growth. No alteration of coccoid forms in the Gram-positive bacteria and anaerobic bacteria tested were observed following treatment with A22. To study the relationship between pathogenicity and alterations in bacterial shape, the infectious capacity of A22-induced coccoid S. flexneri was examined using CHO-K1 cells. Invasion of the coccoid cells was significantly reduced, however, no changes in adherence were observed. Using a mutant defective in the type III secretion apparatus, which delivers effectors to the host, we examined the secretion of effectors by A22-induced coccoid S. flexneri. The amount of secreted effectors in the coccoid cells was clearly decreased compared to rod-shaped cells. These results showed that the maintenance of rod-shaped cells by MreB in bacteria was essential for the secretion of effectors via the type III secretion system. Therefore, our results suggest that A22 is a useful lead compound for a novel anti-infectious agent without bactericidal activity and MreB is a candidate target site for development of new anti-infectious agents.