The Galactose-Binding Lectin Isolated from Vatairea macrocarpa Seeds Enhances the Effect of Antibiotics Against Staphylococcus aureus–Resistant Strain

  • Valdenice F. Santos
  • Maria S. Costa
  • Fábia F. Campina
  • Renato R. Rodrigues
  • Ana L. E. Santos
  • Felipe M. Pereira
  • Karla L. R. Batista
  • Rafael C. Silva
  • Raquel O. Pereira
  • Bruno A. M. Rocha
  • Henrique D. M. Coutinho
  • Claudener S. TeixeiraEmail author


The use of natural products together with standard antimicrobial drugs has recently received more attention as a strategy to combat infectious diseases caused by multidrug-resistant (MDR) microorganisms. This study aimed to evaluate the capacity of a galactose-binding lectin from Vatairea macrocarpa seeds (VML) to modulate antibiotic activity against standard and MDR Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli bacterial strains. The minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) obtained for VML against all strains was not clinically relevant (MIC ≥ 1024 μg/mL). However, when VML was combined with the antibacterial drugs gentamicin, norfloxacin and penicillin, a significant increase in antibiotic activity was observed against S. aureus, whereas the combination of VML and norfloxacin presented decreased and, hence, antagonistic antibiotic activity against E. coli. By its inhibition of hemagglutinating activity, gentamicin (MIC = 50 mM) revealed its interaction with the carbohydrate-binding site (CBS) of VML. Using molecular docking, it was found that gentamicin interacts with residues that constitute the CBS of VML with a score of − 120.79 MDS. It is this interaction between the antibiotic and the lectin’s CBS that may be responsible for the enhanced activity of gentamicin in S. aureus. Thus, our results suggest that the VML can be an effective modulating agent against S. aureus. This is the first study to report the effect of lectins as modulators of bacterial sensitivity, and as such, the outcome of this study could lay the groundwork for future research involving the use of lectins and conventional antibiotics against such infectious diseases such as community-acquired methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA).


Antimicrobial Gentamicin Protein Agglutinin 



We thank David Martin for English language editing of the manuscript.

Funding Information

This study was partly funded by the Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa e Desenvolvimento Científico do Maranhão (FAPEMA), Fundação Cearense de Apoio ao Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (FUNCAP), Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (CAPES), Finance Code 001, and Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq), referring to the Research Productivity Grants of Bruno Anderson Matias da Rocha and Henrique Douglas Melo Coutinho.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Valdenice F. Santos
    • 1
  • Maria S. Costa
    • 2
  • Fábia F. Campina
    • 2
  • Renato R. Rodrigues
    • 1
  • Ana L. E. Santos
    • 1
  • Felipe M. Pereira
    • 1
  • Karla L. R. Batista
    • 1
  • Rafael C. Silva
    • 1
  • Raquel O. Pereira
    • 1
  • Bruno A. M. Rocha
    • 3
  • Henrique D. M. Coutinho
    • 2
  • Claudener S. Teixeira
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Centro de Ciências Agrárias e AmbientaisUniversidade Federal do MaranhãoChapadinhaBrazil
  2. 2.Departamento de Química BiológicaUniversidade Regional do CaririCratoBrazil
  3. 3.Departamento de Bioquímica e Biologia MolecularUniversidade Federal do CearáFortalezaBrazil

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