Natural Alkaloid Berberine Activity against Pseudomonas aeruginosa MexXY-Mediated Aminoglycoside Resistance: In Silico and in Vitro Studies.
J Nat Prod. 2019 Jul 5. Epub 2019 Jul 5. PMID: 31274312
The multidrug efflux system MexXY-OprM, inside the resistance-nodulation-division family, is a major determinant of aminoglycoside resistance in Pseudomonas aeruginosa. In the fight aimed to identify potential efflux pump inhibitors among natural compounds, the alkaloid berberine emerged as a putative inhibitor of MexXY-OprM. In this work, we elucidated its interaction with the extrusor protein MexY and assessed its synergistic activity with aminoglycosides. In particular, we built an in silico model for the MexY protein in its trimeric association using both AcrB ( E. coli) and MexB ( P. aeruginosa) as 3D templates. This model has been stabilized in the bacterial cytoplasmic membrane using a molecular dynamics approach and used for ensemble docking to obtain the binding site mapping. Then, through dynamic docking, we assessed its binding affinity and its synergism with aminoglycosides focusing on tobramycin, which is widely used in the treatment of pulmonary infections. In vitro assays validated the data obtained: the results showed a 2-fold increase of the inhibitory activity and 2-4 log increase of the killing activity of the association berberine-tobramycin compared to those of tobramycin alone against 13/28 tested P. aeruginosa clinical isolates. From hemolytic assays, we preliminarily assessed berberine's low toxicity.