Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) causes severe infections and poses a global healthcare challenge. The utilization of novel molecules which confer synergistical effects to existing MRSA-directed antibiotics is one of the well-accepted strategies in lieu of de novo development of new antibiotics. Thymol is a key component of the essential oil of plants in the Thymus and Origanum genera. Despite the absence of antimicrobial potency, thymol is known to inhibit MRSA biofilm formation. However, the anti-MRSA activity of thymol analogs is not well characterized. Here, we assessed the antimicrobial activity of several thymol derivatives and found that 4-chloro-2-isopropyl-5-methylphenol (chlorothymol) has antimicrobial activity against MRSA and in addition it also prevents biofilm formation. Chlorothymol inhibited staphyloxanthin production, slowed MRSA motility, and altered bacterial cell density and size. This compound also showed a synergistic antimicrobial activity with oxacillin against highly resistant S. aureus clinical isolates and biofilms associated with these isolates. Our results demonstrate that chlorinated thymol derivatives should be considered as a new lead compound in anti-MRSA therapeutics.
- synergistic effect
- thymol derivatives