The greater celandine (
L.), a well-known source of isoquinoline alkaloids, has a long history of use as a medicinal plant. Although the antimicrobial activity of
alkaloids against pathogenic bacteria has been reported, the mechanism of this action is almost unknown. The BioArena system, which integrates the modern method and biological results of bioautography with TLC and/or OPLC, is especially suitable for investigating biochemical interactions in the adsorbent layer after chromatographic separation. The antimicrobial effect of alkaloids obtained from
root has been demonstrated by use of this system. It was assumed that the antibiotic activity of
alkaloids was a result of formation of formaldehyde. It was also assumed that addition of endogenous HCHO-capture molecules, for example l
-arginine and glutathione, to the culture medium reduces the antibacterial activity of
alkaloids whereas Cu(II) ions enhance the effect. The results obtained support these assumptions and our earlier observations that HCHO and its reaction products are very important in the antibiotic action of these compounds. These small molecules (l
-arginine and glutathione) can capture HCHO molecules mobilized by alkaloids and possibly by pathogen cells, and may be responsible for reduced antibacterial effect. The HCHO-mobilizing power of Cu(II) ions dramatically enhanced the antibiotic effect. The BioArena system is highly suitable for studying special interactions in the adsorbent layer.
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