Effects of rhodomyrtone on Gram- positive bacterial tubulin homologue FtsZ

Dennapa Saeloh, Michaela Wenzel, Thanyada Rungrotmongkol, Leendert Willem Hamoen, Varomyalin Tipmanee*, Supayang Piyawan Voravuthikunchai

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Rhodomyrtone, a natural antimicrobial compound, displays potent activity against many Gram-positive pathogenic bacteria, comparable to last-defence antibiotics including vancomycin and daptomycin. Our previous studies pointed towards effects of rhodomyrtone on the bacterial membrane and cell wall. In addition, a recent molecular docking study suggested that the compound could competitively bind to the main bacterial cell division protein FtsZ. In this study, we applied a computational approach (in silico), in vitro, and in vivo experiments to investigate molecular interactions of rhodomyrtone with FtsZ. Using molecular simulation, FtsZ conformational changes were observed in both (S)- and (R)-rhodomyrtone binding states, compared with the three natural states of FtsZ (ligand-free, GDP-, and GTP-binding states). Calculations of free binding energy showed a higher affinity of FtsZ to (S)-rhodomyrtone (-35:92 ± 0.36 kcal mol-1) than the GDP substrate (-23:47 ± 0.25 kcal mol-1) while less affinity was observed in the case of (R)-rhodomyrtone (-18:11 ± 0.11 kcal mol-1). In vitro experiments further revealed that rhodomyrtone reduced FtsZ polymerization by 36% and inhibited GTPase activity by up to 45%. However, the compound had no effect on FtsZ localization in Bacillus subtilis at inhibitory concentrations and cells also did not elongate after treatment. Higher concentrations of rhodomyrtone did affect localization of FtsZ and also affected localization of its membrane anchor proteins FtsA and SepF, showing that the compound did not specifically inhibit FtsZ but rather impaired multiple divisome proteins. Furthermore, a number of cells adopted a beanlike shape suggesting that rhodomyrtone possibly possesses further targets involved in cell envelope synthesis and/or maintenance.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2962
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Binding free energy
  • Cell division
  • Molecular dynamics simulation
  • Rhodomyrtone
  • Tubulin homologue FtsZ


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