Lycopene-Induced Hydroxyl Radical Causes Oxidative DNA Damage in Escherichia coli

  • Lee, Wonyoung (School of Life Sciences, BK 21 Plus KNU Creative BioResearch Group, College of Natural Sciences, Kyungpook National University) ;
  • Lee, Dong Gun (School of Life Sciences, BK 21 Plus KNU Creative BioResearch Group, College of Natural Sciences, Kyungpook National University)
  • Received : 2014.06.03
  • Accepted : 2014.07.10
  • Published : 2014.09.28


Lycopene, which is a well-known red carotenoid pigment, has been drawing scientific interest because of its potential biological functions. The current study reports that lycopene acts as a bactericidal agent by inducing reactive oxygen species (ROS)-mediated DNA damage in Escherichia coli. Lycopene treatment elevated the level of ROS-in particular, hydroxyl radicals ($^*OH$)-which can damage DNA in E. coli. Lycopene-induced DNA damage in bacteria was confirmed and we also observed cell filamentation caused by cell division arrest, an indirect marker of the DNA damage repair system, in lycopene-treated E. coli. Increased RecA expression was observed, indicating activation of the DNA repair system (SOS response). To summarize, lycopene exerts its antibacterial effects by inducing $^*OH$-mediated DNA damage that cannot be ameliorated by the SOS response. Lycopene may be a clinically useful adjuvant for current antimicrobial therapies.


Supported by : National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF)


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