The possible mechanism of rhapontigenin influencing antifungal activity on Candida albicans.
ABSTRACT Rhapontigenin, an aglycone of rhapontin, was produced by biotransformation and we investigated its antifungal activity against Candida albicans, one of the most important opportunistic fungal pathogens. Rhapontigenin is found to have, in vitro, inhibitory activity with a minimal inhibitory concentration (MIC) value against all test isolates of 128-256 μg/ml. We detected increased reactive oxygen species (ROS) levels in yeast cultures treated with rhapontigenin at the MIC. Rhapontigenin inhibited DNA, RNA, and protein synthesis, especially RNA synthesis, and induced morphological changes and apoptosis of C. albicans. The apoptotic effect of rhapontigenin on C. albicans at subinhibitory concentrations was higher in the stationary growth phase than in the exponential phase, while the opposite results were noted with amphotericin B. The mechanism of antifungal activity of rhapontigenin may be associated with the generation of ROS that might induce apoptosis and it may also involve the inhibition of ergosterol biosynthesis.