Poacic Acid, a Plant-Derived Stilbenoid, Augments Cell Wall Chitin Production, but Its Antifungal Activity Is Hindered by This Polysaccharide and by Fungal Essential Metals

Adi Yona, Micha Fridman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Climate and environmental changes have modified the habitats of fungal pathogens, inflicting devastating effects on livestock and crop production. Additionally, drug-resistant fungi are increasing worldwide, driving the urgent need to identify new molecular scaffolds for the development of antifungal agents for humans, animals, and plants. Poacic acid (PA), a plant-derived stilbenoid, was recently discovered to be a novel molecular scaffold that inhibits the growth of several fungi. Its antifungal activity has been associated with perturbation of the production/assembly of the fungal cell wall β-1,3-glucan, but its mode of action is not resolved. In this study, we investigated the antifungal activity of PA and its derivatives on a panel of yeast. PA had a fungistatic effect on S. cerevisiae and a fungicidal effect on plasma membrane-damaged Candida albicans mutants. Live cell fluorescence microscopy experiments revealed that PA increases chitin production and modifies its cell wall distribution. Chitin production and cell growth returned to normal after prolonged incubation. The antifungal activity of PA was reduced in the presence of exogenous chitin, suggesting that the potentiation of chitin production is a stress response that helps the yeast cell overcome the effect of this antifungal stilbenoid. Growth inhibition was also reduced by metal ions, indicating that PA affects the metal homeostasis. These findings suggest that PA has a complex antifungal mechanism of action that involves perturbation of the cell wall β-1,3-glucan production/assembly, chitin production, and metal homeostasis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1051-1065
Number of pages15
JournalBiochemistry
Volume63
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - 16 Apr 2024

Funding

FundersFunder number
ADAMA Center for Novel Delivery Systems
Tel Aviv University
Israel Science Foundation179/19
Israel Science Foundation

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