Novel R-plasmid conjugal transfer inhibitory and antibacterial activities of phenolic compounds from Mallotus philippensis (Lam.) Mull. Arg.

Blessing O. M. Oyedemi, Vaibhav Shinde, Kamlesh Shinde, Dionysia Kakalou, Paul D. Stapleton, Simon Gibbons

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24 Citations (Scopus)


Antimicrobial resistance severely limits the therapeutic options for many clinically important bacteria. In Gram-negative bacteria, multidrug resistance is commonly facilitated by plasmids that have the ability to accumulate and transfer refractory genes amongst bacterial populations. The aim of this study was to isolate and identify bioactive compounds from the medicinal plant Mallotus philippensis (Lam.) Mull. Arg. with both direct antibacterial properties and the capacity to inhibit plasmid conjugal transfer. A chloroform-soluble extract of M. philippensis was subjected to bioassay-guided fractionation using chromatographic and spectrometric techniques that led to the isolation of the known compounds rottlerin [5,7-dihydroxy-2,2-dimethyl-6-(2,4,6-trihydroxy-3-methyl-5-acetylbenzyl)-8-cinnamoyl-1,2-chromene] and the red compound (8-cinnamoyl-5,7-dihydroxy-2,2,6-trimethylchromene). Both compounds were characterised and elucidated using one-dimensional and two-dimensional nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR). Rottlerin and the red compound showed potent activities against a panel of clinically relevant Gram-positive bacteria, including meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). No significant direct activities were observed against Gram-negative bacteria. However, both rottlerin and the red compound strongly inhibited conjugal transfer of the plasmids pKM101, TP114, pUB307 and R6K amongst Escherichia coli at a subinhibitory concentration of 100 mg/L. Interestingly, despite the planar nature of the compounds, binding to plasmid DNA could not be demonstrated by a DNA electrophoretic mobility shift assay. These results show that rottlerin and the red compound are potential candidates for antibacterial drug lead development. Further studies are needed to elucidate the mode of inhibition of the conjugal transfer of plasmids.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15-21
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Global Antimicrobial Resistance
Early online date4 Mar 2016
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2016


  • Anti-plasmid
  • Antibacterial agent
  • Bacterial plasmids
  • Conjugation
  • Multidrug resistance
  • Natural products

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