Planta Med 2018; 84(17): 1265-1270
DOI: 10.1055/a-0639-5412
Biological and Pharmacological Activity
Original Papers
Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York

Antimicrobial and Efflux Inhibitor Activity of Usnic Acid Against Mycobacterium abscessus

Ivy B. Ramis
1   Núcleo de Pesquisa em Microbiologia Médica, Universidade Federal de Rio Grande, Rio Grande, RS, Brazil
Júlia S. Vianna
1   Núcleo de Pesquisa em Microbiologia Médica, Universidade Federal de Rio Grande, Rio Grande, RS, Brazil
Ana Júlia Reis
1   Núcleo de Pesquisa em Microbiologia Médica, Universidade Federal de Rio Grande, Rio Grande, RS, Brazil
Andrea von Groll
1   Núcleo de Pesquisa em Microbiologia Médica, Universidade Federal de Rio Grande, Rio Grande, RS, Brazil
Daniela F. Ramos
1   Núcleo de Pesquisa em Microbiologia Médica, Universidade Federal de Rio Grande, Rio Grande, RS, Brazil
Miguel Viveiros
2   Unidade de Microbiologia Médica, Global Health and Tropical Medicine, GHTM, Instituto de Higiene e Medicina Tropical, IHMT, Universidade NOVA de Lisboa, UNL, Lisboa, Portugal
Pedro E. Almeida da Silva
1   Núcleo de Pesquisa em Microbiologia Médica, Universidade Federal de Rio Grande, Rio Grande, RS, Brazil
› Author Affiliations
Further Information

Publication History

received 13 March 2018
revised 26 May 2018

accepted 01 June 2018

Publication Date:
18 June 2018 (online)


New drugs are needed to treat infections with antimicrobial-resistant Mycobacterium abscessus; therefore, we evaluated usnic acid as an antimicrobial agent and efflux inhibitor (EI) against M. abscessus. Usnic acid showed antimicrobial activity, and synergistically, the EI verapamil increased this activity. In addition, when we evaluated the interaction of antimicrobials with usnic acid, the increase of their activity was observed. Finally, usnic acid showed an efflux inhibitory effect between the classical EIs verapamil and carbonyl cyanide m-chlorophenylhydrazine. In conclusion, usnic acid showed both antimicrobial and EI activity, indicating that this natural compound may be a promising scaffold for new drugs against this difficult-to-treat microorganism.

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