Biochemical and Molecular Evaluation of the Plant Ecballium elaterium Extract Effects on Escherichia coli

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Abdat, Wafa
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Wafa Jarrah Abdat
Ecballium elaterium plant is traditionally used in several countries around the world for the treatment of various illnesses including jaundice and rhinosinusitis. The present study was conducted to investigate the antimicrobial activity of fruit and leaf ethanolic extracts of E. elateruim on clinical and reference strains of E. coli. Microbroth dilution method indicated that ethanolic leaf and fruit extracts of E. elaterium exhibited the same degree of antimicrobial activity against both tested E. coli strains with an MIC value of 25mg/ml. The effect of E. elaterium ethanolic extracts on these strains was also examined at the molecular level using ERIC-PCR. SDS-PAGE technique was also carried out to examine gene expression of total cellular proteins under the same conditions. Results of ERIC-PCR and SDS-PAGE showed alterations in DNA and protein profiles of both tested E. coli strains treated with fruit and leaf extracts compared with untreated control. The alterations ranged between decreased or increased intensity of some bands, absence or appearance of new amplified fragments. Among the changes that occurred in ERIC-PCR profile, an amplified fragment with amplicon size 450-bp disappeared after 6 and 24h from reference strain treated with 6 mg/ml fruit extract compared with untreated control. The band which had an amplicon size of about 550-bp was faint after 2h in clinical strain treated with 25 mg/ml ethanolic leaf extract in comparison with untreated control. In addition, after 6h treatment of reference E. coli with 25 mg/ml leaf extract appearance of extra new bands at Rf values of approximately 0.45 and 0.47 was recorded compared with untreated control in SDS-PAGE profile. SDS-PAGE profile also revealed the increase in the intensity of bands at approximate Rf values of 0.15 and 0.7 compared after 6 h treatment of clinical E. coli with 10 and 6 mg/ml fruit extract with untreated control. Moreover, increased concentrations of E. elaterium extracts and increased time intervals seems to yield a more profound increase in total protein concentrations in both tested E. coli strains. Such findings strongly indicate the genotoxic effects of E. elaterium extracts on both E. coli strains. The findings draw attention to the unsafe improper use of E. elaterium extracts in folkloric medicine and also point out the capability of using E. elaterium to treat E. coli infections. More studies are required to find out the exact mechanisms responsible for the observed genotoxicity.
Biochemical and Molecular Evaluation of the Plant Ecballium elaterium Extract Effects on Escherichia coli