Antibacterial Azaphilones from an Endophytic Fungus, Colletotrichum sp. BS4

Three new compounds, colletotrichones A–C (13), and one known compound, chermesinone B (4a), were isolated from an endophytic fungus, Colletotrichum sp. BS4, harbored in the leaves of Buxus sinica, a well-known boxwood plant used in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). Their structures were determined by extensive spectroscopic analyses including 1D and 2D NMR, HRMS, ECD spectra, UV, and IR, as well as single-crystal X-ray diffraction, and shown to be azaphilones sharing a 3,6a-dimethyl-9-(2-methylbutanoyl)-9H-furo­[2,3-h]­isochromene-6,8-dione scaffold. Owing to the remarkable antibacterial potency of known azaphilones coupled to the usage of the host plant in TCM, we evaluated the antibacterial efficacy of the isolated compounds against two commonly dispersed environmental strains of Escherichia coli and Bacillus subtilis, as well as against two human pathogenic clinical strains of Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Compound 1 exhibited marked antibacterial potencies against the environmental strains that were comparable to the standard antibiotics. Compound 3 was also active against E. coli. Finally, compound 2a exhibited the same efficacy as streptomycin against the clinically relevant bacterium S. aureus. The in vitro cytotoxicity of these compounds on a human acute monocytic leukemia cell line (THP-1) was also assessed. Our results provide a scientific rationale for further investigations into endophyte-mediated host chemical defense against specialist and generalist pathogens.