Thymol induces conidial apoptosis in Aspergillus flavus. - GreenMedInfo Summary
Thymol Induces Conidial Apoptosis in Aspergillus flavus via Stimulating KEruption.
J Agric Food Chem. 2018 Aug 15 ;66(32):8530-8536. Epub 2018 Aug 6. PMID: 30044621
Aspergillus flavus is a notorious foodborne fungus, posing a significant risk to humans in the form of hepatocellular carcinoma or aspergillosis. Thymol, as a food preservative, could efficiently kill conidia of A. flavus. However, the underlying mechanisms by which thymol kills A. flavus are not completely understood. With specific fluorescent dyes, we detected several apoptotic hallmarks, including chromatin condensation, phosphatidylserine externalization, DNA damage, mitochondrial depolarization, and caspase 9 activation in conidia exposed to 200μg/mL of thymol, indicating that thymol induced a caspase-dependent conidial apoptosis in A. flavus. Chemical-protein interactome (CPI) and autodock analyses showed that KCNAB, homologue to the β-subunit of the voltage-gated potassium channel (Kv) and aldo-keto reductase, was the potential targetof thymol. Following studies demonstrated that thymol could activate the aldo-keto reductase activity of KCNAB in vitro and stimulate a transient Kefflux in conidia, as determined using a Port-a-Patch. Blocking Keruption by 4-aminopyridine (a universal inhibitor of Kv) could significantly alleviate thymol-mediated conidial apoptosis, indicating that activation of Kv was responsible for the apoptosis. Taken together, our results revealed a Kefflux-mediated apoptotic pathway in A. flavus, which greatly contributed to the development of an alternative strategy to control this pathogen.