Fungal infections have emerged as a major global threat to human health because of the increasing incidence and mortality rates every year. The emergence of drug resistance and limited arsenal of antifungal agents further aggravates the current situation resulting in a growing challenge in medical mycology. Here, we identified that ponatinib, an FDA-approved antitumour drug, significantly enhanced the activity of the azole fluconazole, the most widely used antifungal drug. Further detailed investigation of ponatinib revealed that its combination with fluconazole displayed broad-spectrum synergistic interactions against a variety of human fungal pathogens such as Candida albicans, Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Cryptococcus neoformans. Mechanistic insights into the mode of action unravelled that ponatinib reduced the efflux of fluconazole via Pdr5 and suppressed the expression of the proton pump, Pma1. Taken together, our study identifies ponatinib as a novel antifungal that enhances drug activity of fluconazole against diverse fungal pathogens.
© 2021 The Authors. Microbial Biotechnology published by Society for Applied Microbiology and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.