Traditional Chinese Medicine Tanreqing Inhibits Quorum Sensing Systems in Pseudomonas aeruginosa

Weifeng Yang, Qing Wei, Qian Tong, Kaiyu Cui, Gaiying He, Longfei Lin, Lvyan Z Ma, Pierre Cornelis, Yi Wang

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Pseudomonas aeruginosa is an opportunistic pathogen that can infect a wide variety of hosts including humans, plants, and animals. The production of virulence factors is the determinant of the infection paradigm and is under orchestrated regulation via cell-to-cell communication process called quorum sensing (QS). To disable QS circuits and prevent bacterial infections, a large battery of anti-QS agents, particularly from traditional Chinese medicine have been developed. Here, we used P. aeruginosa as a model microorganism to investigate the effect of traditional Chinese medicine Tanreqing (TRQ) formula on bacterial pathogenicity. Phenotypic analysis showed that TRQ treatment could completely inhibit the production of phenazine pyocyanin and moderately inhibit the production of virulence factors such as rhamnolipids, elastase, and alkaline protease. Further transcriptomic analyses revealed that TRQ treatment could significantly attenuate the expression of QS-regulated genes in P. aeruginosa and TRQ-treated P. aeruginosa regulon shared a large overlap with QS regulon. Component contribution to QS inhibition shed light on the indispensable role of all five components in TRQ formula. Further genetic analysis indicated that upstream regulators of QS systems, including two-component systems GacS/GacA and PprA/PprB, were both inhibited by TRQ treatment. Finally, our TRQ formula could efficiently protect Caenorhabditis elegans from killing by P. aeruginosa. Altogether, we have proved TRQ formula as an effective and specific agent to attenuate bacterial virulence and combat bacterial infections.

Original languageEnglish
Article number517462
Number of pages18
JournalFrontiers in Microbiology
Publication statusPublished - 17 Dec 2020

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2020 Yang, Wei, Tong, Cui, He, Lin, Ma, Cornelis and Wang.


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