Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a well-known pathogenic bacterium that forms biofilms and produces virulence factors via quorum sensing (QS). Interfering with normal QS interactions between signal molecules and their cognate receptors is a developing strategy for attenuating its virulence. Here we tested the hypothesis that 6-gingerol, a pungent oil of fresh ginger, reduces biofilm formation and virulence by antagonistically binding to P. aeruginosa QS receptors. In silico studies demonstrated molecular binding occurs between 6-gingerol and the QS receptor LasR through hydrogen bonding and hydrophobic interactions. Experimentally 6-gingerol reduced biofilm formation, several virulence factors (e.g., exoprotease, rhamnolipid, and pyocyanin), and mice mortality. Further transcriptome analyses demonstrated that 6-gingerol successfully repressed QS-induced genes, specifically those related to the production of virulence factors. These results strongly support our hypothesis and offer insight into the molecular mechanism that caused QS gene repression.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We would like to thank Samantha Reuter for proofreading this manuscript, Kiwon Ok for generating Figure 3 using PyMOL software. This research was funded by National Research Foundation of Korea grant (2012-R1A1A11010000 to Y.B. and 2012-R1A1A2043292 to H.-D.P.).
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