The eradication of recurrentPseudomonas aeruginosa(PA) lung infection in cystic fibrosis (CF) patients may be hampered by the development of persistent bacterial forms, which can tolerate antibiotics through efflux pump overexpression. After demonstrating the efflux pump inhibitory effect of the alkaloid berberine on the PA MexXY-OprM efflux pump, in this study, we tested its ability (80/320 μg/mL) to enhance tobramycin (20xMIC/1000xMIC) activity against PA planktonic/biofilm cultures. Preliminary investigations of the involvement of MexY in PA tolerance to tobramycin treatment, performed on the isogenic pair PA K767 (wild type)/K1525 (ΔmexY) growing in planktonic and biofilm cultures, demonstrated that the ΔmexYmutant K1525 produced a lower (100 and 10 000 times, respectively) amount of tolerant cells than that of the wild type. Next, we grew broth cultures of PAO1, PA14, and 20 PA clinical isolates (of which 13 were from CF patients) in the presence of 20xMIC tobramycin with and without berberine 80 μg/mL. Accordingly, most strains showed a greater (from 10- to 1000-fold) tolerance reduction in the presence of berberine. These findings highlight the involvement of the MexXY-OprM system in the tobramycin tolerance of PA and suggest that berberine may be used in new valuable therapeutic combinations to counteract persister survival.
The Natural Alkaloid Berberine Can Reduce the Number ofPseudomonas aeruginosaTolerant Cells / Mangiaterra, G.; Cedraro, N.; Laudadio, E.; Minnelli, C.; Citterio, B.; Andreoni, F.; Mobbili, G.; Galeazzi, R.; Biavasco, F.. - In: JOURNAL OF NATURAL PRODUCTS. - ISSN 0163-3864. - STAMPA. - 84:4(2021), pp. 993-1001. [10.1021/acs.jnatprod.0c01151]