Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

High-throughput screening and whole genome sequencing identifies an antimicrobially active inhibitor of Vibrio cholerae

Galina Sergeev1, Sambit Roy2, Michael Jarek1, Viktor Zapolskii3, Dieter E Kaufmann3, Ranjan K Nandy2* and Werner Tegge1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Chemical Biology, Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research (HZI), Inhoffenstraße 7, D-38124 Braunschweig, Germany

2 National Institute of Cholera and Enteric Diseases (NICED), P-33, CIT Road, Scheme XM Beliaghata, Kolkata 700 010, India

3 Technical University of Clausthal, Leibnizstraße 6, D-38678 Clausthal-Zellerfeld, Germany

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BMC Microbiology 2014, 14:49  doi:10.1186/1471-2180-14-49

Published: 26 February 2014



Pathogenic serotypes of Vibrio cholerae cause the life-threatening diarrheal disease cholera. The increasing development of bacterial resistances against the known antibiotics necessitates the search for new antimicrobial compounds and targets for this pathogen.


A high-throughput screening assay with a Vibrio cholerae reporter strain constitutively expressing green fluorescent protein (GFP) was developed and applied in the investigation of the growth inhibitory effect of approximately 28,300 structurally diverse natural compounds and synthetic small molecules. Several compounds with activities in the low micromolar concentration range were identified. The most active structure, designated vz0825, displayed a minimal inhibitory concentration (MIC) of 1.6 μM and a minimal bactericidal concentration (MBC) of 3.2 μM against several strains of V. cholerae and was specific for this pathogen. Mutants with reduced sensitivity against vz0825 were generated and whole genome sequencing of 15 pooled mutants was carried out. Comparison with the genome of the wild type strain identified the gene VC_A0531 (GenBank: AE003853.1) as the major site of single nucleotide polymorphisms in the resistant mutants. VC_A0531 is located on the small chromosome of V. cholerae and encodes the osmosensitive K+-channel sensor histidine kinase (KdpD). Nucleotide exchange of the major mutation site in the wild type strain confirmed the sensitive phenotype.


The reporter strain MO10 pG13 was successfully used for the identification of new antibacterial compounds against V. cholerae. Generation of resistant mutants and whole genome sequencing was carried out to identify the histidine kinase KdpD as a novel antimicrobial target.

Vibrio cholerae; Small molecules; Histidine kinase inhibitor; KdpD; whole genome sequencing