Int J Mol Sci. 2021 Mar 9;22(5):2752. doi: 10.3390/ijms22052752.
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a major nosocomial pathogen worldwide and has acquired multiple resistance to a wide range of antibiotics. Hence, there is a pressing need to explore novel strategies to overcome the increase in antimicrobial resistance. The present study aims to investigate the efficacy and mechanism of plant-derived antimicrobials, trans-cinnamaldehyde (TCA) in decreasing MRSA's resistance to eight conventional antibiotics. A checkerboard dilution test and time-kill curve assay are used to determine the synergistic effects of TCA combined with the antibiotics. The results indicated that TCA increased the antibacterial activity of the antibiotics by 2-16-fold. To study the mechanism of the synergism, we analyzed the mecA transcription gene and the penicillin-binding protein 2a level of MRSA treated with TCA by quantitative RT-PCR or Western blot assay. The gene transcription and the protein level were significantly inhibited. Additionally, it was verified that TCA can significantly inhibit the biofilm, which is highly resistant to antibiotics. The expression of the biofilm regulatory gene hld of MRSA after TCA treatment was also significantly downregulated. These findings suggest that TCA maybe is an exceptionally potent modulator of antibiotics.