Membrane Destruction and DNA Binding of Staphylococcus aureus Cells Induced by Carvacrol and Its Combined Effect with a Pulsed Electric Field.

carvacrol, essential oil from origanum vulgare, staphylococcus aureus, protective effect of carvacrol

Membrane Destruction and DNA Binding of Staphylococcus aureus Cells Induced by Carvacrol and Its Combined Effect with a Pulsed Electric Field.

Author Information

Wang LH, Wang MS, Zeng XA, Zhang ZH, Gong DM1, Huang YB

1School of Biological Sciences, The University of Auckland , Auckland 1142, New Zealand.

Abstract

Carvacrol (5-isopropyl-2-methylphenol, CAR) is an antibacterial ingredient that occurs naturally in the leaves of the plant Origanum vulgare. The antimicrobial mechanism of CAR against Staphylococcus aureus ATCC 43300 was investigated in the study. Analysis of the membrane fatty acids by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) showed that exposure to CAR at low concentrations induced a marked increase in the level of unbranched fatty acids (from 34.90 ± 1.77% to 62.37 ± 4.26%). Moreover, CAR at higher levels severely damaged the integrity and morphologies of the S. aureus cell membrane. The DNA-binding properties of CAR were also investigated using fluorescence, circular dichroism, molecular modeling, and atomic-force microscopy. The results showed that CAR bound to DNA via the minor-groove mode, mildly perturbed the DNA secondary structure, and induced DNA molecules to be aggregated. Furthermore, a combination of CAR with a pulsed-electric field was found to exhibit strong synergistic effects on S. aureus.

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