Testing the Efficacy of Panax ginseng Extract as a Novel Anti-Quorum Sensing Agent Honors Thesis

(2009). Testing the Efficacy of Panax ginseng Extract as a Novel Anti-Quorum Sensing Agent .


  • Villaseca, Christian

honors thesis advisor


  • Quorum sensing (QS) is the phenomenon by which microorganisms regulate gene expression in response to cell-population density. These microorganisms synthesize and secrete small molecules known as autoinducers that increase in concentration as a function of cell density. Once the cell detects the minimal threshold concentration of an autoinducer, the gene expression is altered accordingly. Although the cellular circuitry responding to QS is relatively conserved, the cellular processes regulated by QS, for example are conjugation, motility, sporulation, biofilm formation and production of virulence factors importamt for infection. Since many pathogens have developed resistance to available antibiotics, novel therapies are required to further treat these pathogens. Inhibitors of QS are potential therapeutic candidates since they would inhibit virulence without selecting for antibiotic resistant strains. Previous studies have shown that the Chinese herb Panax ginseng contains compounds that inhibit QS activity. To further characterize this activity, a highly sensitive quantitative liquid assay was developed using a Chromobacterium violaceum AHL mutant, CV026 as a biomonitor strain. After confirmation that P. ginseng aqueous extracts had anti-QS activity, the extract was fractionated on a reverse phase C18 Sep Pak column. Most anti-QS activity was present in the flow through, and compounds eluted with ten percent acetonitrile in water antibacterial activity. We thus conclude that P. ginseng has anti-QS activity and the active compound is water soluble. Compounds from P. ginseng, could be used as a lead structure to design compound with higher anti-QS activity for therapeutic treatments.

publication date

  • January 1, 2009