Curcumin is a natural dietary compound with antimicrobial activity against various gram positive and negative bacteria. This study aims to investigate the proteome level alterations in Bacillus subtilis due to curcumin treatment and identification of its molecular/cellular targets to understand the mechanism of action. We have performed a comprehensive proteomic analysis of B. subtilis AH75 strain at different time intervals of curcumin treatment (20, 60 and 120 min after the drug exposure, three replicates) to compare the protein expression profiles using two complementary quantitative proteomic techniques, 2D-DIGE and iTRAQ. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first comprehensive longitudinal investigation describing the effect of curcumin treatment on B. subtilis proteome. The proteomics analysis revealed several interesting targets such UDP-N-acetylglucosamine 1-carboxyvinyltransferase 1, putative septation protein SpoVG and ATP-dependent Clp protease proteolytic subunit. Further, in silico pathway analysis using DAVID and KOBAS has revealed modulation of pathways related to the fatty acid metabolism and cell wall synthesis, which are crucial for cell viability. Our findings revealed that curcumin treatment lead to inhibition of the cell wall and fatty acid synthesis in addition to differential expression of many crucial proteins involved in modulation of bacterial metabolism. Findings obtained from proteomics analysis were further validated using 5-cyano-2,3-ditolyl tetrazolium chloride (CTC) assay for respiratory activity, resazurin assay for metabolic activity and membrane integrity assay by potassium and inorganic phosphate leakage measurement. The gene expression analysis of selected cell wall biosynthesis enzymes has strengthened the proteomics findings and indicated the major effect of curcumin on cell division.
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