High-throughput transcriptomic profiling reveals the inhibitory effect of hydroquinine on virulence factors in Pseudomonas aeruginosa

Nontaporn Rattanachak, Sattaporn Weawsiangsang, Krai Daowtak, Yordhathai Thongsri, Sukunya Ross, Gareth Ross, Nungruthai Nilsri, Robert Andrew Baldock, Sutatip Pongcharoen, Touchkanin Jongjitvimol, Jirapas Jongjitwimol

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Hydroquinine is an organic alkaloid compound that exhibits antimicrobial activity against several bacterial strains including strains of both drug-sensitive and multidrug-resistant P. aeruginosa. Despite this, the effects of hydroquinine on virulence factors in P. aeruginosa have not yet been characterized. We therefore aimed to uncover the mechanism of P. aeruginosa hydroquinine-sensitivity using high-throughput transcriptomic analysis. We further confirmed whether hydroquinine inhibits specific virulence factors using RT-qPCR and phenotypic analysis. At half the minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) of hydroquinine (1.250 mg/mL), 254 genes were differentially expressed (97 downregulated and 157 upregulated). We found that flagellar-related genes were downregulated by between −2.93 and −2.18 Log2-fold change. These genes were consistent with the analysis of gene ontology and KEGG pathway. Further validation by RT-qPCR showed that hydroquinine significantly suppressed expression of the flagellar-related genes. By analyzing cellular phenotypes, P. aeruginosa treated with ½MIC of hydroquinine exhibited inhibition of motility (30–54% reduction) and pyocyanin production (~25–27% reduction) and impaired biofilm formation (~57–87% reduction). These findings suggest that hydroquinine possesses anti-virulence factors, through diminishing flagellar, pyocyanin and biofilm formation.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1436
Number of pages16
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 19 Oct 2022


  • anti-virulence factor
  • biofilm
  • flagellar assembly
  • hydroquinine
  • pyocyanin
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa
  • transcriptomic analysis


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