DOI: 10.24075/brsmu.2018.003


Triphenyl phosphonium-based substances are alternatives to common antibiotics

Pinto TCA1, Banerjee A2, Nazarov PA3
About authors

1 Instituto de Microbiologia Paulo de Góes,
Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

2 Department of Biosciences & Bioengineering,
Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, Mumbai, India

3 Belozersky Institute of Physico-Chemical Biology,
Lomonosov Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia

Correspondence should be addressed: Pavel Nazarov
ul. Narimanovskaya, d. 22, k. 3, kv. 294, Moscow, Russia, 107564; moc.liamg@apvorazan

About paper

Acknowledgements: we are grateful to Dr. Y. N. Antonenko and Dr. M. V. Skulachev for critical reading and helpful discussion of the manuscript.

Received: 2018-01-23 Accepted: 2018-02-01

There is an urgent need for new antimicrobial and therapeutic strategies to deal with the ever evolving antimicrobial resistance among the most prevalent bacterial pathogens. Infections due to virulent bacteria remain significant causes of morbidity and mortality despite progress in antimicrobial therapy, primarily because of the increasing of antimicrobial resistance levels among such group of bacteria. Despite significant advances in the understanding of the pathogenesis of infection due to these organisms, there are only limited strategies to prevent infection. Recently it was reported that SkQ1, triphenyl phosphonium-based mitochondria-targeted antioxidant and antibiotic, effectively kills all tested Gram-positive laboratory strains including of Bacillus subtilis, Staphylococcus aureus and Mycobacterium sp. Moreover, SkQ1 demonstrated effectiveness towards Gram-negative strains too, except Escherichia coli. The mechanism of the bactericidal action of TPP-based antibiotics could be also described by its ability to suppress bacterial bioenergetics by collapsing membrane potential through activation of protonophorous uncoupling. To this date, there are no reports of resistance to SkQ1 among Gram-positive strains; therefore, triphenyl phosphonium-based antibacterial agents would be effective towards planktonic and sessile cells of clinical resistant strains.

Keywords: triphenyl phosphonium, protonophore, bacteria, antibiotic resistance, clinical strains, membrane potential, Staphylococcus aureus, Enterococcus faecalis, Enterococcus faecium, Streptococcus pneumoniae