Crude metabolites from endophytic fungi inhabiting Cameroonian Annona muricata inhibit the causative agents of urinary tract infections
PLoS One. 2022 May 11;17(5):e0267246. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0267246. eCollection 2022.
Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are common bacterial infections. The global emergence of multidrug-resistant uropathogens in the last decade underlines the need to search for new antibiotics with novel mechanisms of action. In this regard, exploring endophytic fungi inhabiting medicinal plants used locally against urinary tract infections could be a promising strategy for novel drug discovery. This study investigates crude metabolites from endophytic fungi isolated from Annona muricata as potential sources of antibiotic drugs to fight against uropathogens and reduce related oxidative stress. Crude ethyl acetate extracts from 41 different endophytic fungi were screened against three bacterial strains using the broth microdilution method, and fungi producing active crude extracts were identified using ITS1-5.8S rRNA-ITS2 nucleotide sequences. The antibacterial modes of action of the five most active extracts were evaluated using Staphylococcus aureus ATCC 43300 and Klebsiella oxytoca strains. The DPPH and FRAP assays were used to investigate their antioxidant activity, and their cytotoxicity against the Vero cell line was evaluated using the MTT assay. Out of the 41 crude extracts tested, 17 were active with minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs) ranging from 3.125 μg/mL to 100 μg/mL and were not cytotoxic against Vero cell lines with a cytotoxic concentration 50 (CC50) >100 μg/mL. The more potent extracts (from Fusarium waltergamsii AMtw3, Aspergillus sp. AMtf15, Penicillium citrinum AMf6, Curvularia sp. AMf4, and Talaromyces annesophieae AMsb23) significantly inhibited bacterial catalase activity, lysed bacterial cells, increased outer membrane permeability, and inhibited biofilm formation, and the time-kill kinetic assay revealed concentration-dependent bactericidal activity. All seventeen extracts showed weak ferric iron-reducing power (1.06 to 12.37 μg equivalent NH2OH/g of extract). In comparison, seven extracts exhibited DPPH free radical scavenging activity, with RSA50 ranging from 146.05 to 799.75 μg/mL. The molecular identification of the seventeen active fungi revealed that they belong to six distinct genera, including Aspergillus, Curvularia, Fusarium, Meyerozyma, Penicillium, and Talaromyces. This investigation demonstrated that fungal endophytes from Cameroonian Annona muricata, a medicinal plant used locally to treat bacterial infections, might contain potent antibacterial metabolites with multiple modes of action. The antibacterial-guided fractionation of these active extracts is currently ongoing to purify and characterise potential antibacterial active ingredients.