Synergy between ursolic and oleanolic acids from vitellaria paradoxa leaf extract and β-lactams against methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus: In vitro and in vivo activity and underlying mechanisms

Lucy Catteau, Nathalie T. Reichmann, Joshua Olson, Mariana G. Pinho, Victor Nizet, Françoise Van Bambeke, Joëlle Quetin-Leclercq

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Combining antibiotics with resistance reversing agents is a key strategy to overcome bacterial resistance. Upon screening antimicrobial activities of plants used in traditional medicine, we found that a leaf dichloromethane extract from the shea butter tree (Vitellaria paradoxa) had antimicrobial activity against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) with further evidence of synergy when combined with β-lactams. Using HPLC-MS, we identified ursolic (UA) and oleanolic acids (OA) in leaves and twigs of this species, and quantified them by HPLC-UV as the major constituents in leaf extracts (21% and 6% respectively). Both pure triterpenic acids showed antimicrobial activity against reference and clinical strains of MRSA, with MICs ranging from 8-16 mg/L for UA to 32-128 mg/L for OA. They were highly synergistic with β-lactams (ampicillin and oxacillin) at subMIC concentrations. Reversion of MRSA phenotype was attributed to their capacity to delocalize PBP2 from the septal division site, as observed by fluorescence microscopy, and to disturb thereby peptidoglycan synthesis. Moreover, both compounds also inhibited β-lactamases activity of living bacteria (as assessed by inhibition of nitrocefin hydrolysis), but not in bacterial lysates, suggesting an indirect mechanism for this inhibition. In a murine model of subcutaneous MRSA infection, local administration of UA was synergistic with nafcillin to reduce lesion size and inflammatory cytokine (IL-1β) production. Thus, these data highlight the potential interest of triterpenic acids as resistance reversing agents in combination with β-lactams against MRSA.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2245
JournalMolecules
Volume22
Issue number12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2017

Keywords

  • MRSA
  • Oleanolic acid
  • PBP2
  • Skin infection
  • Triterpenic acid
  • Ursolic acid
  • Vitellaria paradoxa
  • β-lactamases

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