Biochemistry, Department of


Document Type


Date of this Version



July/August 2023 Volume 11 Issue 4 10.1128/spectrum.01023-23


Open access.


Infections by pathogenic Acinetobacter species represent a significant burden on the health care system, despite their relative rarity, due to the difficulty of treating infections through oral antibiotics. Multidrug resistance is commonly observed in clinical Acinetobacter infections and multiple molecular mechanisms have been identified for this resistance, including multidrug efflux pumps, carbapenemase enzymes, and the formation of bacterial biofilm in persistent infections. Phenothiazine compounds have been identified as a potential inhibitor of type IV pilus production in multiple Gram-negative bacterial species. Here, we report the ability of two phenothiazines to inhibit type IV pilus-dependent surface (twitching) motility and biofilm formation in multiple Acinetobacter species. Biofilm formation was inhibited in both static and continuous flow models at micromolar concentrations without significant cytotoxicity, suggesting that type IV pilus biogenesis was the primary molecular target for these compounds. These results suggest that phenothiazines may be useful lead compounds for the development of biofilm dispersal agents against Gram-negative bacterial infections.