Mitochondrial Respiratory Pathways Inhibition in Rhizopus oryzae Potentiates Activity of Posaconazole and Itraconazole via Apoptosis.

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Mitochondrial Respiratory Pathways Inhibition in Rhizopus oryzae Potentiates Activity of Posaconazole and Itraconazole via Apoptosis.

PLoS One. 2013;8(5):e63393

Authors: Shirazi F, Kontoyiannis DP

Abstract
The incidence of mucormycosis has increased drastically in immunocompromised patients. Also the array of targets whose inhibition results in Mucorales death is limited. Recently, researchers identified mitochondria as important regulators of detoxification and virulence mechanisms in fungi. In this context, targeting the mitochondrial respiratory chain may provide a new platform for antifungal development. We hypothesized that targeting respiratory pathways potentiates triazoles activity via apoptosis. We found that simultaneous administration of antimycin A (AA) and benzohydroxamate (BHAM), inhibitors of classical and alternative mitochondrial pathways respectively, resulted in potent activity of posaconazole (PCZ) and itraconazole (ICZ) against Rhizopus oryzae. We observed cellular changes characteristic of apoptosis in R. oryzae cells treated with PCZ or ICZ in combination with AA and BHAM. The fungicidal activity of this combination against R. oryzae was correlated with intracellular reactive oxygen species accumulation (ROS), phosphatidylserine externalization, mitochondrial membrane depolarization, and increased caspase like activity. DNA fragmentation and condensation assays also revealed apoptosis of R. oryzae cells. These apoptotic features were prevented by the addition of the ROS scavenger N-acetyl-cysteine. Taken together, these findings suggest that the use of PCZ or ICZ in combination with AA and BHAM makes R. oryzae exquisitely sensitive to treatment with triazoles via apoptosis. This strategy may serve as a new model for the development of improved or novel antifungal agents.

PMID: 23696824 [PubMed - in process]

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