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1.  Synthetic arylquinuclidine derivatives exhibit antifungal activity against Candida albicans, Candida tropicalis and Candida parapsilopsis 
Sterol biosynthesis is an essential pathway for fungal survival, and is the biochemical target of many antifungal agents. The antifungal drugs most widely used to treated fungal infections are compounds that inhibit cytochrome P450-dependent C14α-demethylase (CYP51), but other enzymes of this pathway, such as squalene synthase (SQS) which catalyses the first committed step in sterol biosynthesis, could be viable targets. The aim of this study was to evaluate the antifungal activity of SQS inhibitors on Candida albicans, Candida tropicalis and Candida parapsilopsis strains.
Ten arylquinuclidines that act as SQS inhibitors were tested as antiproliferative agents against three ATCC strains and 54 clinical isolates of Candida albicans, Candida tropicalis and Candida parapsilopsis. Also, the morphological alterations induced in the yeasts by the experimental compounds were evaluated by fluorescence and transmission electron microscopy.
The most potent arylquinuclidine derivative (3-[1'-{4'-(benzyloxy)-phenyl}]-quinuclidine-2-ene) (WSP1267) had a MIC50 of 2 μg/ml for all species tested and MIC90 varying from 4 μg/ml to 8 μg/ml. Ultrathin sections of C. albicans treated with 1 μg/ml of WSP1267 showed several ultrastructural alterations, including (a) loss of cell wall integrity, (b) detachment of the plasma membrane from the fungal cell wall, (c) accumulation of small vesicles in the periplasmic region, (d) presence of large electron-dense vacuoles and (e) significantly increased cell size and cell wall thickness. In addition, fluorescence microscopy of cells labelled with Nile Red showed an accumulation of lipid droplets in the cytoplasm of treated yeasts. Nuclear staining with DAPI revealed the appearance of uncommon yeast buds without a nucleus or with two nuclei.
Taken together, our data demonstrate that arylquinuclidine derivatives could be useful as lead compounds for the rational synthesis of new antifungal drugs.
PMCID: PMC3036746  PMID: 21255433
2.  Activity of tannins from Stryphnodendron adstringens on Cryptococcus neoformans: effects on growth, capsule size and pigmentation 
Stryphnodendron adstringens (Mart.) Coville, Leguminosae, also known in Brazil as barbatimão, is rich in tannins and many flavan-3-ols and proanthocyanidins such as prodelphinidins and prorobinetinidins. Previous studies have demonstrated several pharmacological properties of tannins from barbatimão, including anti-candidal activity.
The antifungal activity of proanthocyanidin polymeric tannins from Stryphnodendron adstringens (subfraction F2.4) was evaluated against three strains of Cryptococcus neoformans with different capsule expressions, using the broth microdilution technique, light microscopy and transmission electron microscopy. The effect of subfraction F2.4 on C. neoformans and melanoma mammalian cells pigmentation was also evaluated.
Although susceptibility assays revealed MIC values quite similar (between 2.5 and 5.0 μg/ml), analyses of MFC values revealing that the acapsular mutant Cap 67 was more susceptible to be killed by the subfraction F2.4 (MFC = 20 μg/ml) than the two tested capsular strains (T1-444 and ATCC 28957) (MFC > 160 μg/ml). Optical and electron microscopy experiments revealed relevant alterations in cell shape and size in all strains treated with 1 and 2.5 μg/ml of subfraction F2.4. Capsule size of the capsular strains decreased drastically after subfraction F2.4 treatment. In addition, ultrastructural alterations such as cell wall disruption, cytoplasm extraction, mitochondria swelling, increase in the number of cytoplasmic vacuoles and formation of membranous structures in the cytoplasm were also observed in treated yeasts. Incubation with subfraction F2.4 also decreased C. neoformans pigmentation, however, did not interfere in melanization of B16F10 mammalian cells.
Our data indicate that tannins extracted from S. adstringens interfered with growth, capsule size and pigmentation, all important virulence factors of C. neoformans, and may be considered as a putative candidate for the development of new antifungal agents.
PMCID: PMC2777115  PMID: 19891776

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