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Open Access Cinnamic Acid Analogs as Intervention Catalysts for Overcoming Antifungal Tolerance

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Disruption of fungal cell wall should be an effective intervention strategy. However, the cell wall-disrupting echinocandin drugs, such as caspofungin (CAS), cannot exterminate filamentous fungal pathogens during treatment. For potency improvement of cell wall-disrupting agents (CAS, octyl gallate (OG)), antifungal efficacy of thirty-three cinnamic acid derivatives was investigated against Saccharomyces cerevisiae slt2Δ, bck1Δ, mutants of the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK), and MAPK kinase kinase, respectively, in cell wall integrity system, and glr1Δ, mutant of CAS-responsive glutathione reductase. Cell wall mutants were highly susceptible to four cinnamic acids (4-chloro-α-methyl-, 4-methoxy-, 4-methyl-, 3-methylcinnamic acids), where 4-chloro-α-methyl- and 4-methylcinnamic acids possessed the highest activity. Structure-activity relationship revealed that 4-methylcinnamic acid, the deoxygenated structure of 4-methoxycinnamic acid, overcame tolerance of glr1Δ to 4-methoxycinnamic acid, indicating the significance of para substitution of methyl moiety for effective fungal control. The potential of compounds as chemosensitizers (intervention catalysts) to cell wall disruptants (viz., 4-chloro-α-methyl- or 4-methylcinnamic acids + CAS or OG) was assessed according to Clinical Laboratory Standards Institute M38-A. Synergistic chemosensitization greatly lowers minimum inhibitory concentrations of the co-administered drug/agents. 4-Chloro-α-methylcinnamic acid further overcame fludioxonil tolerance of Aspergillus fumigatus antioxidant MAPK mutants (sakAΔ, mpkCΔ). Collectively, 4-chloro-α-methyl- and 4-methylcinnamic acids possess chemosensitizing capability to augment antifungal efficacy of conventional drug/agents, thus could be developed as target-based (i.e., cell wall disruption) intervention catalysts.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Foodborne Toxin Detection and Prevention Research Unit, Western Regional Research Center, USDA-ARS, 800 Buchanan St., Albany, CA 94710, USA

Publication date: January 1, 2017

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