The naturally occurring reactive electrophilic species 12-oxo-phytodienoic acid (12-oxo-PDA) is a potent antifungal agent, whereas the plant growth regulator jasmonic acid, which is synthesized from 12-oxo-PDA, is ineffective. To address what structural features of the molecule endow it with antifungal activity, we synthesized a series of molecular mimics of 12-oxo-PDA varying in the length of the alkyl chain at its C-4 ring position. The octyl analogue (4-octyl cyclopentenone) was the most effective at suppressing spore germination and subsequent mycelial growth of a range of fungal pathogens and was particularly effective against Cladosporium herbarum and Botrytis cinerea, with minimum fungicidal concentrations in the range 100-200 µM. Introduction of a carboxyl group to the end of the chain, mimicking natural fatty acids, markedly reduced antifungal efficacy. Electrolyte leakage, indicative of membrane perturbation, was evident in both C. herbarum and B. cinerea exposed to 4-octyl cyclopentenone. Lipid composition analysis of the fungal spores revealed that those species with a high oil content, namely Fusarium oxysporum and Alternaria brassicicola, were less sensitive to 4-octyl cyclopentenone. The comparable hydrophobicity of 4-octyl cyclopentenone and 12-oxo-PDA accounts for the similar spore suppression activity of these two compounds. The relative ease of synthesis of 4-octyl cyclopentenone makes it an attractive compound for potential use as an antifungal agent.
- 12-oxo-phytodienoic acid
- antifungal agent