18β-Glycyrrhetinic Acid Induces Metabolic Changes and Reduces Staphylococcus aureus Bacterial Cell-to-Cell Interactions
Weaver, Alan J.
Borgogna, Timothy R.
Peters, Tami R.
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The rise in bacterial resistance to common antibiotics has raised an increased need for alternative treatment strategies. The natural antibacterial product, 18β-glycyrrhetinic acid (GRA) has shown efficacy against community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), although its interactions against planktonic and biofilm modes of growth remain poorly understood. This investigation utilized biochemical and metabolic approaches to further elucidate the effects of GRA on MRSA. Prolonged exposure of planktonic MRSA cell cultures to GRA resulted in increased production of staphyloxanthin, a pigment known to exhibit antioxidant and membrane-stabilizing functions. Then, 1D 1H NMR analyses of intracellular metabolite extracts from MRSA treated with GRA revealed significant changes in intracellular polar metabolite profiles, including increased levels of succinate and citrate, and significant reductions in several amino acids, including branch chain amino acids. These changes reflect the MRSA response to GRA exposure, including potentially altering its membrane composition, which consumes branched chain amino acids and leads to significant energy expenditure. Although GRA itself had no significant effect of biofilm viability, it seems to be an effective biofilm disruptor. This may be related to interference with cell–cell aggregation, as treatment of planktonic MRSA cultures with GRA leads to a significant reduction in micro-aggregation. The dispersive nature of GRA on MRSA biofilms may prove valuable for treatment of such infections and could be used to increase susceptibility to complementary antibiotic therapeutics.
Weaver, A.J., Jr.; Borgogna, T.R.; O’Shea-Stone, G.; Peters, T.R.; Copié, V.; Voyich, J.; Teintze, M. 18β-Glycyrrhetinic Acid Induces Metabolic Changes and Reduces Staphylococcus aureus Bacterial Cell-to-Cell Interactions. Antibiotics 2022, 11, 781. https://doi.org/ 10.3390/antibiotics11060781