Phytol, isolated from Aster yomena, is widely distributed as a constituent of chlorophyll. In the present study, we confirmed the antibacterial activity of phytol and its mechanism inducing oxidative cell death in Pseudomonas aeruginosa. In phytol-treated cells, elevated level of intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) and transient NADH depletion were observed. These results demonstrated that phytol induced ROS accumulation and that the electron transport chain was involved in increase of ROS. Due to this ROS generation, the imbalance developed between intracellular ROS and the antioxidant defense system, leading to decrease of reduced glutathione (GSH). Moreover, severe DNA damage was shown after treatment with phytol. DNA electrophoresis and a terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase dUTP nick end labeling (TUNEL) assay were conducted with pretreatment with the antioxidant N-acetylcysteine (NAC) to evaluate the cause of DNA damage. In NAC-pretreated cells, alleviated damage was confirmed and it supports that phytol induces oxidative stress-mediated DNA damage. In conclusion, phytol exerts the antibacterial property via inducing oxidative stress response in P. aeruginosa.
Keywords: DNA damage; Phytol; Pseudomonas aeruginosa; oxidative stress; phytochemical.