Affiliation: R & D Centre, Department of Biotechnology, Dayananda Sagar College of Engineering, Bangalore, 560 078, Karnataka, India.
Streptococcus pyogenes is a notorious pathogenic bacterium which causes various human diseases ranging from localized infections to life threatening invasive diseases. Streptolysin-O (SLO), pore-forming thiol-activated cytolysin, is the major virulent factor for streptococcal infections. Present therapies against streptococcal infections are limited as most of the strains have developed multi-drug resistance to present generation of drugs. Hence, there is a need for alternative therapeutic substances. Structure based virtual screening is a novel platform to select lead molecules with better pharmacokinetic properties. The 3D structure of SLO (not available in native form), essential for such studies, was computationally generated and this homology model was used as probable drug target. Based on literature survey, several phytoligands from 25 medicinal plants were selected. Out of these, leads from 11 plants showed better pharmacokinetic properties. The best lead molecules were screened based on computer aided drug likeness and pharmacokinetic predictions. The inhibitory properties of selected herbal leads against SLO were studied by molecular docking. An in vitro assay was further carried out and variations observed were found to be significant (p<0.05). Antibiotic sensitivity testing was also performed with the clinical strain of Streptococcus pyogenes with conventional drugs. The clinical strain showed multi-drug resistance to conventional drugs. Our study revealed that numerous phytoligands have better inhibitory properties towards the toxin. We noticed that incorporation of selected herbal extracts in blood agar medium showed significant reduction in hemolysis (MIC 300μl/plate), indicating inhibition of SLO. Furthermore, the butanol extracts of selected herbal preparation based on computer aided screening showed significant inhibitory properties at 250 mcg/disc concentration. We also noticed that selected herbal formulations have better antimicrobial properties at MIC range of 300- 400μl. Hence, our study suggests that these herbal extracts have better inhibitory properties against the toxin as well as drug resistant Streptococcus pyogenes.