Original Research ARTICLE

Front. Microbiol., 16 March 2012 | doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2012.00088

Targeting the oxidative stress response system of fungi with redox-potent chemosensitizing agents

Jong H. Kim1, Kathleen L. Chan1, Natália C. G. Faria2, M. de L. Martins2 and Bruce C. Campbell1*
  • 1 Plant Mycotoxin Research Unit, Western Regional Research Center, USDA-ARS, Albany, CA, USA
  • 2 Instituto de Higiene e Medicina Tropical/Centro de Recursos Microbiológicos, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Lisboa, Portugal

The cellular antioxidant system is a target in the antifungal action of amphotericin B (AMB) and itraconazole (ITZ), in filamentous fungi. The sakAΔ mutant of Aspergillus fumigatus, a mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) gene deletion mutant in the antioxidant system, was found to be more sensitive to AMB or ITZ than other A. fumigatus strains, a wild type and a mpkCΔ mutant (a MAPK gene deletion mutant in the polyalcohol sugar utilization system). Complete fungal kill (≥99.9%) by ITZ or AMB was also achieved by much lower dosages for the sakAΔ mutant than for the other strains. It appears msnA, an Aspergillus ortholog to Saccharomyces cerevisiae MSN2 (encoding a stress-responsive C2H2-type zinc-finger regulator) and sakA and/or mpkC (upstream MAPKs) are in the same stress response network under tert-butyl hydroperoxide (t-BuOOH)-, hydrogen peroxide (H2O2)- or AMB-triggered toxicity. Of note is that ITZ-sensitive yeast pathogens were also sensitive to t-BuOOH, showing a connection between ITZ sensitivity and antioxidant capacity of fungi. Enhanced antifungal activity of AMB or ITZ was achieved when these drugs were co-applied with redox-potent natural compounds, 2,3-dihydroxybenzaldehyde, thymol or salicylaldehyde, as chemosensitizing agents. We concluded that redox-potent compounds, which target the antioxidant system in fungi, possess a chemosensitizing capacity to enhance efficacy of conventional drugs.

Keywords: amphotericin B, itraconazole, natural compounds, chemosensitization, Candida, Cryptococcus, Aspergillus, oxidative stress response

Citation: Kim JH, Chan KL, Faria NCG, Martins MdL and Campbell BC (2012) Targeting the oxidative stress response system of fungi with redox-potent chemosensitizing agents. Front. Microbio. 3:88. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2012.00088

Received: 23 December 2011; Accepted: 22 February 2012;
Published online: 16 March 2012.

Edited by:

Karin Thevissen, Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium

Reviewed by:

Tom Coenye, University of Ghent, Belgium
Paul Cos, Antwerp University, Belgium

Copyright: © 2012 Kim, Chan, Faria, Martins and Campbell. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial License, which permits non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in other forums, provided the original authors and source are credited.

*Correspondence: Bruce C. Campbell, Plant Mycotoxin Research Unit, Western Regional Research Center, USDA-ARS, 800 Buchanan Street, Albany, CA 94710, USA. e-mail: bruce.campbell@ars.usda.gov

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