Critical discovery and synthesis of novel antibacterial and resistance-modifying agents inspired by plant phytochemical defense mechanisms

Sameh S.M. Soliman, Balsam Qubais Saeed, Samia A. Elseginy, Farah Al-Marzooq, Islam M. Ahmady, Ali A. El-Keblawy, Rania Hamdy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


Antimicrobial resistance is at increasing risk worldwide since it is threatening the ability to control common infectious diseases, resulting in prolonged illness, disability, and death. Herein, we inspired by the effective plant phytochemical mechanisms evolved to overcome microbial pathogenesis and evolved resistance. Cuminaldehyde is previously reported as the main antibacterial component in Calligonum comosum essential oil. The toxicity of cuminaldehyde limits its medical application for human use. On the other hand, compared to cuminaldehyde, the plant total extract showed similar antibacterial activities, while maintained lower toxicity, although it contains 22 times less cuminaldehyde. Thus, we assumed that other components in the plant extracts specifically affect bacteria but not mammalian cells. Bioassay-guided fractionations combined with comparative metabolomics analysis of different plant extracts were employed. The results revealed the presence of bacterial species-specific phytochemicals. Cinnamyl linoleate and linoleic acid enhanced the antibacterial activities of cuminaldehyde and ampicillin against S. aureus including MRSA, while decanal and cinnamyl linoleate enhanced the activities against E. coli. Computational modeling and enzyme inhibition assays indicated that cinnamyl linoleate selectively bind to bacterial ribosomal RNA methyltransferase, an important enzyme involved in the virulence and resistance of multidrug resistant bacteria. The results obtained can be employed for the future preparation of pharmaceutical formula containing cinnamyl linoleate in order to overcome evolved multidrug resistance behaviors by microbes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number109318
JournalChemico-Biological Interactions
Publication statusPublished - Jan 5 2021


  • Antibacterial potentiators
  • Calligonum comosum
  • Cinnamyl linoleate
  • Cuminaldehyde
  • Resistance-modifying agent
  • Ribosomal RNA methyltransferase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology


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