Endophytic actinobacteria of Hymenachne amplexicaulis from the Brazilian Pantanal wetland produce compounds with antibacterial and antitumor activities

Microbiol Res. 2021 Apr 6;248:126768. doi: 10.1016/j.micres.2021.126768. Online ahead of print.


The increase in the number of deaths from infections caused by multidrug-resistant bacteria and cancer diseases highlights the need for new molecules with biological activity. Actinobacteria represent a potential source of new compounds, as these microorganisms have already produced a great diversity of clinically employed antibiotics. Endophytes from unexplored biomes, such as the Pantanal (the largest wetland in the world), can be a source of new molecules. Hymenachne amplexicaulis is among the unexplored native plants of the Pantanal in terms of its endophytic community. This plant is considered a weed in other countries due to its ability to adapt and compete with native plants, and there is evidence to suggest that the endophytic community of H. amplexicaulis plays an important role in this competitiveness. To explore its therapeutic potential, the present study isolated, identified (using partial sequence of the 16S rDNA) and bioprospected H. amplexicaulis endophytic actinobacteria. Ten isolates belonging to the genera Streptomyces, Microbispora, Leifsonia, and Verrucosispora were obtained from root fragments. The susceptibility profile of the isolates to the different classes of antibiotics was evaluated, with 80 % of the isolates showing resistance to the antibiotics Nalidixic Acid, Ampicillin, Chloramphenicol, Oxacillin, and Rifampicin. To assess antibacterial and antitumor activities, methanolic extracts were obtained by fermentation in SG culture medium at 36 °C at 180 rpm for 10 days. The extract produced from the S. albidoflavus CMRP4854 isolate was the only one to show activity against the Gram-negative bacterium Acinetobacter baumanii. Due to the great clinical importance of this pathogen and the difficulty in obtaining active compounds against it, the CMRP4854 isolate should be further investigated for the identification of active compounds and mode of action. We also emphasize the results obtained by the extract of the isolates Streptomyces albidoflavus CMRP4852 and Verrucosispora sp. CMRP4860 that presented antibacterial effect against Methicilin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) (MIC: 1.5 μg/mL and 13 μg/mL, respectively) and Vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus (VRE) (MIC: 40 μg/mL for both extracts). Extracts (200 μg/mL) of these two endophytes also showed selective cytotoxicity action against murine B16-F10 melanoma cells. However, the CMRP4852 extract also affected the density of normal cells. Due to these results, the crude extract of isolate CMRP4860 Verrucosispora sp., which was the only one that presented cytotoxicity and reduced cell density only in tumor cells, was selected for subsequent analysis involving scale-up fermentation of the CMRP4860 resulting in 9 fractions that were tested against both bacteria and tumor cells, with particular fractions showing promise and meriting further investigation. Taken together, the results of this study not only show for the first time that the endophytic community of H. amplexicaulis actinobacteria can produce secondary metabolites that potentially possess important antibacterial and cytotoxic properties, but also reinforce the pressing need to conserve biomes such as the Brazilian Pantanal.

PMID:33873141 | DOI:10.1016/j.micres.2021.126768