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Molecules. 2011 Sep 15;16(9):7958-68. doi: 10.3390/molecules16097958.

Allicin reduces the production of α-toxin by Staphylococcus aureus.

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Key Laboratory of Zoonosis, Ministry of Education, Institute of Zoonosis, College of Animal Science and Veterinary Medicine, Jilin University, Changchun 130062, China.


Staphylococcus aureus causes a broad range of life-threatening diseases in humans. The pathogenicity of this micro-organism is largely dependent upon its virulence factors. One of the most extensively studied virulence factors is the extracellular protein α-toxin. In this study, we show that allicin, an organosulfur compound, was active against S. aureus with MICs ranged from 32 to 64 μg/mL. Haemolysis, Western blot and real-time RT-PCR assays were used to evaluate the effects of allicin on S. aureus α-toxin production and on the levels of gene expression, respectively. The results of our study indicated that sub-inhibitory concentrations of allicin decreased the production of α-toxin in both methicillin-sensitive S. aureus (MSSA) and methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) in a dose-dependent manner. Furthermore, the transcriptional levels of agr (accessory gene regulator) in S. aureus were inhibited by allicin. Therefore, allicin may be useful in the treatment of α-toxin-producing S. aureus infections.

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