Skip to main content


Front. Chem., 14 August 2018
Sec. Inorganic Chemistry
Volume 6 - 2018 |

Antibacterial Activity of Polyoxometalates Against Moraxella catarrhalis

  • 1Universität Wien, Fakultät für Chemie, Institut für Biophysikalische Chemie, Wien, Austria
  • 2Center for Translational and Clinical Research, Croatian Center of Excellence for Reproductive and Regenerative Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Zagreb, Zagreb, Croatia

The antibacterial activity of 29 different polyoxometalates (POMs) against Moraxella catarrhalis was investigated by determination of the minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC). The Preyssler type polyoxotungstate (POT) [NaP5W30O110]14− demonstrates the highest activity against M. catarrhalis (MIC = 1 μg/ml) among all tested POMs. Moreover, we show that the Dawson type based anions, [P2W18O62]6−, [(P2O7)Mo18O54]4−, [As2Mo18O62]6−, [H3P2W15V3O62]6−, and [AsW18O60]7− are selective on M. catarrhalis (MIC range of 2-8 μg/ml). Among the six tested Keggin type based POTs ([PW12O40]3−, [H2PCoW11O40]5−, [H2CoTiW11O40]6−, [SiW10O36]8−, [SbW9O33]9−, [AsW9O33]9−), only the mono-substituted [H2CoTiW11O40]6− showed MIC value comparable to those of the Dawson type group. Polyoxovanadates (POVs) and Anderson type POMs were inactive against M. catarrhalis within the tested concentration range (1-256 μg/ml). Four Dawson type POMs [P2W18O62]6−, [(P2O7)Mo18O54]4−, [As2Mo18O62]6−, [H3P2W15V3O62]6− and the Preyssler POT [NaP5W30O110]14− showed promising antibacterial activity against M. catarrhalis (MICs < 8 μg/ml) and were therefore tested against three additional bacteria, namely S. aureus, E. faecalis, and E. coli. The most potent antibacterial agent was [NaP5W30O110]14−, exhibiting the lowest MIC values of 16 μg/ml against S. aureus and 8 μg/ml against E. faecalis. The three most active compounds ([NaP5W30O110]14−, [P2W18O62]6−, and [H3P2W15V3O62]6−) show bacteriostatic effects in killing kinetics study against M. catarrhalis. We demonstrate, that POM activity is mainly depending on composition, shape, and size, but in the case of medium-size POTs (charge is more than −12 and number of addenda atoms is not being higher than 22) its activity correlates with the total net charge.


Moraxella catarrhalis is a Gram-negative human mucosal pathogen which causes middle ear infections in infants and children and lower respiratory tract infections in adults with chronic pulmonary disease (Karalus and Campagnari, 2000). M. catarrhalis is one of the three major causes of otitis media along with Streptococcus pneumoniae and Haemophilus influenzae (Del Beccaro et al., 1992). Based on culture isolation and serological studies, M. catarrhalis has been implicated as a cause of sinusitis in both children and adults. In addition, M. catarrhalis occasionally causes severe infections such as septic arthritis, bacteremia, cellulitis, osteomyelitis, endocarditis, and pericarditis (Karalus and Campagnari, 2000). The fact that M. catarrhalis was not considered as an important human pathogen until recently has contributed to the limited research aimed to find vaccines for prevention or selective antibiotics for the treatment of respiratory tract infections (Karalus and Campagnari, 2000).

Excessive or improper use of antibiotics led to the development of antibacterial resistance worldwide during the last few decades, suggesting the incidence of these infections may continue to rise. Thus, new active classes of antibiotics are urgently needed for the most common community-acquired respiratory pathogens with emerging antimicrobial resistance. Along with new organic compounds, metal oxides have attracted significant interest over the past decade as they offer alternative modes of antimicrobial action (Dizaj et al., 2014). A particularly attractive sub-class of metal oxides is metal oxide anions, the so-called polyoxometalates (POMs) (Pope, 1983). POMs comprise an array of corner- and edge-sharing pseudo-octahedrally coordinated MO6 (M most often V, Nb, Mo, W) units that form an ionic core and are amenable to a variety of chemical transformations (Figure 1). Alongside with applications of POMs in catalysis (Wang and Yang, 2015), nanotechnology (Yamase and Pope, 2006), electrochemistry (Sadakane and Steckhan, 1998), material sciences (Proust et al., 2008), and molecular magnetism (Clemente-Juan et al., 2012), POMs have also been proven to exhibit remarkable biological activity. Due to the highly negative charge, strong acidity, geometry, their use in macromolecular crystallography (Bijelic and Rompel, 2015, 2017; Molitor et al., 2017) and as antimicrobial, (Yamase, 2005; Li et al., 2016; Bijelic et al., 2018), antiviral (Judd et al., 2001), antitumor (Fu et al., 2015), antidiabetes (Nomiya et al., 2001), and antiamyloid-fibril agents (related to Alzheimer's disease) (Gao et al., 2014) has been reported so far and more attention should be given to the biological and therapeutic effect of POMs.


Figure 1. Polyhedral representation of key POM structures tested in this study. (A) Preyssler structure [NaP5W30O110]14− (Jeannin et al., 2007); (B) Dawson structure [X2M18O62]n− (X = P5+, As5+, S6+; M = Mo, W, V) (e.g., Contant et al., 2007); (C) α-Keggin structure [PW12O40]3− (Phillips, 1950); (D) mono-substituted Keggin structure [H2XYM11O40]n− [X = Co2+, Y = Ti4+, n = 6 (Kraus et al., 2005); X = P5+, Y = Co2+, n = 5 (Komura et al., 1976)]; (E) di-lacunary γ-Keggin structure [SiW10O36]8− (Téazéa et al., 2007); (F) tri-lacunary α-Keggin structure [XW9O33]9− (X = Sb5+, As5+) (Tourné et al., 1973); (G) octomolybdate [α-Mo8O26]4− (Klemperer, 2007); (H) paratungstate [W12O40(OH)2]10− (Evans and Rollins, 1976); (I) Anderson structure [XM6O24Hk]n− (X = Te6+, M = W, k = 0, n = 6 Schmidt et al., 1986; X = Ni2+, M = Mo, W, k = 6, n = 4 (Rozantsev et al., 2009; Gumerova et al., 2015). Color code: all addenda MO6 octahedra, green polyhedra; heteroatom X, yellow spheres or polyhedra; Na in (A), blue sphere; (C), black spheres; CoO6 and TiO6 in (D), pink polyhedra.

Polyoxotungstates (POTs), polyoxomolybdates (POMos) and polyoxovanadates (POVs) of different structural types have been shown to exhibit synergy with some conventional antibiotics (Yamase et al., 1996; Tajima, 2001) or direct antibacterial activity (Inoue et al., 2005; Bae et al., 2008) against both Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria. In general POVs, especially decavanadate, and large, highly negatively charged POMs exhibit a high activity, whereas for example the activity of Keggin type POMs is bacterial strain dependent (Bijelic et al., 2018).

Thus, in this paper, we determined the antibacterial activity of 18 POTs, seven POMos and four POVs. Mainly we focused on two the most common Keggin and Dawson archetypes with different type of addenda atom and number of lacunas. A few examples of isopolytungstates, -molybdates, and -vanadates, as well as Anderson type anions together with larger Preyssler POT were added to the tested group in order to estimate effect of size and charge of anions. The minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) against M. catarrhalis for each POM was determined. The five most active compounds based on Dawson and Preyssler archetypes with MIC < 8 μg/ml were also tested on two Gram-positive organisms Staphylococcus aureus and Enterococcus faecalis and the Gram-negative bacterium Escherichia coli. In addition, time-kill assays were performed against M. catarrhalis to study the pharmacodynamics of the POMs of Preyssler and Dawson type with MIC = 1–2 μg/ml by examining the rate of bactericidal activity at varying POM concentrations over time.

Materials and Methods


The Preyssler POT (Figure 1A) (NH4)14[NaP5W30O110]·30H2O (Jeannin et al., 2007); heteropolymetalates with Dawson structure (Figure 1B): K6[P2W18O62]·14H2O (Contant et al., 2007), (NH4)6[P2Mo18O62]·12H2O (Briand et al., 2002), [(C16H36)4N]4[P4Mo18O61] (Kortz and Pope, 1994), (CH6N3)6[As2Mo18O62]·9H2O (Ichida and Sasaki, 1983), [(CH3)4N]4[S2Mo18O62] (Hori and Himeno, 1987), Na12[P2W15O56]·25H2O (Contant et al., 2007), [N(CH3)4]6[H3P2W15V3O62]·6H2O (Finke et al., 1986), K6[As2W18O62]·14H2O (Bi et al., 2000), Na7[AsW18O60]·16H2O (Jeannin and Martin-Frere, 1979); heteropolymetalates with Keggin-based structures (Figures 1C-E): Na3[PW12O40]·12H2O (Phillips, 1950), (NH4)5[H2PCoW11O40] (Komura et al., 1976), K6H2[CoTiW11O40]·13H2O (Kraus et al., 2005), K8[SiW10O36]·10H2O (Téazéa et al., 2007), Na9[SbW9O33]·19.5H2O (Tourné et al., 1973); Na9[AsW9O33]·19.5H2O (Tourné et al., 1973), K14[As2W19O67(H2O)] (Kortz et al., 2001); K9(C2H8N)5[H10Se2W29O103]·30H2O (Gao et al., 2013); isopolymetalates (Figures 1F,G): Na10[W12O40(OH)2]·20H2O (Evans and Rollins, 1976), Na12[H4W22O74]·31H2O (Miras et al., 2008), [(C4H9)4N]2[Mo6O19] (Klemperer, 2007), [(C4H9)4N]4[α-Mo8O26] (Klemperer, 2007), K4Na2[V10O28]·10H2O (Lee and Joo, 2003), K4[V4O8(L-tart)2]·8H2O, tart = C4H2O64- (Schwendt et al., 2007), K4[V4O8(D-tart)2]·8H2O, tart = C4H2O64- (Schwendt et al., 2007); heteropolymetalates with Anderson structure (Figure 1I): Na6[TeW6O24]·22H2O (Schmidt et al., 1986), Na4[Ni(OH)6W6O18]·16H2O (Rozantsev et al., 2009), Na4[Ni(OH)6Mo6O18]·16H2O (Gumerova et al., 2015), Na2[N(CH3)4]2[Ni(OH)3W6O18(OCH2)3CCH2OH]·9H2O (Gumerova et al., 2016) were synthesized according to procedures published elsewhere. Table 1 lists the POMs tested in this study together with notation of their abbreviation. Characterization of POMs. Compounds were identified by IR measurements on a Bruker Vertex 70 IR Spectrometer equipped with a single-reflection diamond-ATR unit. In case of mono-crystalline sample POMs ((NH4)14[NaP5W30O110]·30H2O, K6[P2W18O62]·14H2O, K6H2[CoTiW11O40]·13H2O, [N(CH3)4]6[H3P2W15V3O62]·6H2O, Na10[W12O40(OH)2]·20H2O, Na12[H4W22O74]·31H2O, Na6[TeW6O24]·22H2O, Na4[Ni(OH)6W6O18]·16H2O, Na4[Ni(OH)6Mo6O18]·16H2O) were also identified by checking unit cell on a Bruker D8 Venture equipped with multilayer monochromator, MoKα INCOATEC micro focus sealed tube and Kryoflex cooling device.


Table 1. Minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) of POMs against the M. catarrhalis (ATCC 23246).

MIC Determination

Minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs) were determined by the broth microdilution method according to guidelines of the Clinical Laboratory Standards Institute (Wikler, 2009). Double dilutions of tested compounds in 96-well microtiter plates were prepared in the concentration range of 1-256 μg/mL. E. coli (ECM1556) and S. aureus (ATCC 29213) were grown on Mueller-Hinton agar plates (by Becton Dickinson, USA), whereas E. faecalis (ATCC29212) and M. catarrhalis (ATCC 23246) were grown on Columbia agar with 5% defibrinated sheep blood. Inocula were prepared by direct colony suspension method and plates were inoculated with 5·10−4 CFU/well. Results were determined by visual inspection after 20–22 h of incubation at 37°C in ambient air. Testing was performed by the standard broth microdilution method with azithromycin (Lode et al., 1996) as the reference antibiotic to assess test validity.

Time-Killing Assay

M. catarrhalis inoculum was prepared by direct colony suspension in sterile saline and the organism density was matched to 1.0 McFarland turbidity standard. The bacterial suspension was further diluted in cation-adjusted Mueller-Hinton Broth in 1:50 ratio to obtain the starting inoculum of 5·105–5·106 colony-forming units (CFU)/mL. Tested POMs were added to tubes containing 6 mL of bacterial suspension, in concentrations corresponding to 1×, 5×, and 10×MIC, while the control antibiotic azithromycin was tested with 1× and 10×MIC. One tube was used as a drug-free control. After addition of the POMs, tubes were incubated at 37°C for 24 h. Viable colony counts were determined at 0, 2, 4, 6, and 24 h. At each time-point, a 100 μL aliquot was removed from each tube and 10-fold dilutions were prepared in saline, plated on Columbia agar with 5% defibrinated sheep blood in 20 μL aliquots and incubated on 37°C for 24 h. The lower limit for quantifying colony counts was 200 CFU/mL. Bactericidal activity was defined as a ≥3 log10 reduction in CFU/mL (Barry et al., 1999).

Results and Discussion

Antibacterial Activity of Preyssler and Dawson Type POTs and POMos

The antibacterial activity of the 29 POMs against the Gram-negative M. catarrhalis was evaluated by means of MIC (Table 1). The highest activity with a MIC range of 1-8 μg/ml was observed for POMs with Preyssler type (Figure 1A) and Dawson (Figure 1B) structure.

Moreover, the most active POM on M. catarrhalis, namely the Preyssler anion P5W3014- (Figure 1A) (MIC = 1 μg/ml), was additionally tested on the Gram-positive organisms S. aureus and E. faecalis and the Gram-negative E. coli, which are major human pathogens that cause a wide range of clinical infections (Table 2). P5W3014- exhibited good activity against S. aureus with MIC = 16 μg/ml and E. faecalis with MIC = 8 μg/ml, which is the same as for the clinically applied drug azithromycin (Lode et al., 1996), however, it performed inactive against the Gram-negative E. coli. The chitosan-P5W30 nanoassembly has already demonstrated high anticancer activity, which is considered to arise due to high number of phosphorous and tungsten atoms (Shah et al., 2014). Remarkably, the Se-containing lacunary anion Se2W2914-, which is of comparable size and equally charged, exhibited significantly lower MICs (64 μg/ml). This indicates the importance and the influence of the structure, shape, and composition for the antibacterial activity, justifying more detailed studies to elucidate the structure-activity relationship.


Table 2. Minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) of Dawson and Preyssler type POMs against the M. catarrhalis strains.

Except for P2Mo186-, S2Mo184-, and As2W186-, all Dawson type POMs (Figure 1B) tested in this study exhibited potential antibacterial activity exhibiting a MIC within the range of 2–8 μg/ml. Among the Dawson type group, P2W186- and its triple-protonated equally charged vanadium-substituted analog P2W15V36- (Figure 1B) have proven to be the most promising with a MIC of 2 μg/ml suggesting that VO6 sites in Dawson type mixed polyoxovanadatotungstates (POVTs) lattice do not have any significant impact on the antibacterial activity, which was observed earlier for Keggin POVTs as they were remarkably more active against S. pneumoniae than their corresponding POTs (Fukuda and Yamase, 1997). In the Dawson pair P2W186- (MIC = 2 μg/ml) and P2Mo186- (MIC > 256 μg/ml), the POMo is considered as inactive, whereas for As2W186- (MIC > 256 μg/ml) and As2Mo186- (MIC = 4 μg/ml) the opposite effect is observed. Dawson related compounds, namely AsW187- (Figure 2C), with one tricoordinated AsIIIO3 unit (Jeannin and Martin-Frere, 1979), and P2O7Mo184- (Figure 2B), which has a pyrophosphate anion enclosed (Kortz and Pope, 1994), demonstrated higher activity against bacteria (MIC values are 8 and 4 μg/ml, respectively) than classical As2W186- and P2Mo186- (Figure 2A). The presence of highly bioactive and toxic arsenic trioxide in the first case should play a significant role, but difference in the coordination of the heteroatoms in both cases leads to a change of the “rugby-ball-shaped” (Figure 2A) Dawson structure to a “hour-glass” shaped anion (Figures 2B,C), which also may be related to discrepancies in antibacterial activity. These anomalies in the activity of isostructural POTs and POMos indicate that both the hetero- and addenda atoms play a significant role in the bioactivity and that the appropriate combination of these atoms must be decisive for the antibacterial activity.


Figure 2. Ball and stick representation of (A) classical Dawson type anion P2Mo186- (Briand et al., 2002); (B) anion in P2O7Mo184- (Kortz and Pope, 1994); (C) anion in AsW187- (Jeannin and Martin-Frere, 1979). Color code: addenda atom Mo (B) or W (C), dark blue spheres; heteroatom P (B) or As (C), yellow spheres; O, red spheres.

The superiority of the Dawson structure among four different structural groups of polyoxomolybdates in the inhibition of a tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase (ACP) from Leishmania donovani and the tartrate-sensitive ACP from human seminal fluid (prostatic ACP) has been reported previously (Saha et al., 1991). As2Mo186- was the most potent inhibitor and exhibited the highest degree of selectivity against both ACPs. Here, As2Mo186-is proved to be a potent antibacterial agent with the third lowest MIC value of 4 μg/ml against M. catarrhalis.

Antibacterial Activity of Keggin- and Anderson Based Type POTs

Keggin type POTs are known to exhibit antibacterial activities, for example, by increasing the susceptibility of certain bacteria strains toward β-lactam antibiotics (Yamase et al., 1996). In this study the strongest activity was shown for the Keggin based CoTiW116- (Figure 1D) exhibiting a MIC value of 16 μg/ml. Interestingly, despite consisting of the same isomer of Keggin unit, the classical PW123- (Figure 1C) and the two mono-substituted PCoW115- and CoTiW116- (Figure 1D) showed completely different activities. The most negatively charged CoTiW116- is the most active compound; however, the charge dependency is not observed in the case of the other two Keggin anions-PW123- with a total charge of −3 exhibited a MIC of 128 μg/ml and PCoW115- with a total charge of −5 exhibited a value >256 μg/ml. Thus, we assume a decisive role for the accessible TiO6 unit in CoTiW116- (Figure 1D) in the activity against M. catarrhalis. CoTiW116- was previously also shown as the most potent NTPDase inhibitor among six different POTs, (Müller et al., 2006).

The dilacunary SiW108- (Figure 1E) showed much higher activity than the trilacunary anions SbW99- and AsW99- (Figure 1F; 32 μg/ml for SiW108- against >256 μg/ml for SbW99- and AsW99-). Nevertheless, the Keggin and Dawson P2W1512- lacunary anions did not meet the expectation that more negatively charged compounds exhibit higher antibacterial activity.

The inorganic and organically functionalized Anderson type POTs and POMos (Figure 1I) are inactive against M. catarrhalis (Table 1). The inactivity of this type of POM was previously observed for Helicobacter pylori, which as well as M. catarrhalis is most sensitive to larger POMs (Yamase et al., 1996). It is tempting to speculate that the combination of compact size and small charge of Anderson type anion (Blazevic and Rompel, 2016) is the reason of its antibacterial inactivity.

Antibacterial Activity of Isopolymetalates

Among the investigated isopolyanions only two POTs (W1210- (Figure 1H) and W2212-) and octamolybdate Mo84- (Figure 1G) showed a MIC value >256 μg/ml. It should be noted, that decavanadate tested in this study (V106-) did not show antibacterial activity (MIC >256 μg/ml), which confirms the selective activity of the most common vanadates V106- and V4O124- against Streptococcus pneumoniae with MIC values in the range of 4–32 μg/ml (positive control with conventional antibiotics: 2–32 μg/ml; Fukuda and Yamase, 1997). We also included tetranuclear vanadium tartrates (V4-L-tart4− and V4-D-tart4−) in our study as they, similarly to V106-, are one of the few vanadate species with proved stability and hydrolytic immunity in aqueous solutions over time (Schwendt et al., 2007). However, both POVs were inactive toward M. catarrhalis.

The Relationship Between the Composition of POMs and Its Activity Against M. catarrhalis

By analyzing the data in Table 1, it becomes clear that POMs despite having the same or very close charge and size can demonstrate absolutely different activities (e.g. compare Dawson-based P2W186- and P2Mo186- or Keggin-based PCoW115- and CoTiW116-). As already noted above, there are at least three factors affecting the antibacterial activity: size, charge, chemical composition, and their combination. In order to understand the structure-activity-relationship (SAR) we minimized the influence of one of these factors and compared the main characteristics for phosphorus-containing Keggin PW123- (Figure 1C), Dawson P2W186- (Figure 1B), and Preyssler P5W3014- (Figure 1A) POTs (Table 3). Leastways for these fully saturated (not lacunary) POTs with the same heteroatom PW123-, P2W186-, and P5W3014- there is a clear dependence in the increase in antibacterial activity with an increase in charge and size and no correlation with respect to the redox potential.


Table 3. Dimension and redox characteristics for phosphorus-containing Keggin, Dawson, and Preyssler POTs.

No simple SAR was found for all tested POMs, however, narrowing the data set only to the largest tested group, namely POTs with a charge <–12 and with a number of addenda atoms not being higher than 22 it became possible to correlate the antibacterial activity and the charge of the POT (Figure 3). The presented dependence may indicate for medium-sized POTs (but not for POTs with number of addenda atoms more than 22) a stronger effect against M. catarrhalis of anions exhibiting a charge of −8 to −6.


Figure 3. Charge-activity-relationship of POTs against M. catarrhalis. POTs P2W186- (Figure 1B) and AsW187- (Figure 2C) demonstrate Dawson structure, CoTiW116- (Figure 1D) and SiW108- (Figure 1E) are Keggin-based anions, whereas W1210- (Figure 1H) and W2212- - isopolytungstates (see Table 1).

Cells of M. catarrhalis have on their surface low molecular weight lipopolysaccharides (LPS), also called lipooligosaccharides (LOS), which contribute to the increased hydrophobicity of its outer membrane and to the high susceptibility to hydrophobic antimicrobial agents such as macrolides (Gotoh et al., 1989; Tsujimoto et al., 1999). However, M. catarrhalis shows susceptibility not only to hydrophobic agents, but also to hydrophilic agents such as β-lactam antibiotics (Gotoh et al., 1992). The increased susceptibility of these strains toward β-lactams is probably due to the higher permeability of the outer membrane toward these agents. POMs, as examples of super chaotropic anions, can adsorb onto lipid monolayers via electrostatic and/or hydrophobic interaction depending on the charge of the lipid layer (Kobayashi et al., 2017). The model experiments with three differently charged Keggin anions show that dominant interaction equally depends both on the charge density of POMs and on the lipid density (Kobayashi et al., 2017).

Time-Killing Studies

In order to assess whether the tested compounds kill the bacteria (bactericidal effect) or prevent its growth (bacteriostatic effect), time-kill study was performed. Killing kinetics for three the most active compounds: Preyssler P5W3014- (Figure 1A) and two Dawson P2W186- and P2W15V36- (Figure 1B) POTs were determined against M. catarrhalis. POTs were tested at three concentrations, corresponding to 1×, 5×, and 10×MIC. The bactericidal activity of the agents was defined for at least a 3 log10 reduction in viable colony counts. In the control (sample without antibiotic), the numbers of the viable strain were kept within the cultivation of 24 h relative to those at 0 h. Figure 4 represents time-killing curves for compounds P5W3014-, P2W186-, and P2W15V36-. All tested POMs show bacteriostatic effects, resulting from a little change in viable colony numbers within 24 h despite the concentration being equal to 10-fold MIC (Figure 4). Although it would seem preferable for an antibiotic to kill the offending bacteria rather than to merely inhibit it, the clinical importance of an in vitro bactericidal action being better than a bacteriostatic action has rarely been documented. The superiority of bactericidal over bacteriostatic action in the treatment of gram-positive bacterial infections is intuitive rather than based on rigorous scientific research (Pankey and Sabath, 2004).


Figure 4. Time-kill curves for Dawson P2W186- and P2W15V36-, Preyssler P5W3014- POTs and azithromycin at minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) (red), 5-fold (blue) and 10-fold MIC concentration (green) against M. catarrhalis ATCC23246 strain. Control represents uninhibited bacterial growth (black).


An important investigation in exploring biological effects of POMs was performed. The antibacterial activity of 29 POTs, POMos, and POVs against M. catarrhalis was investigated by determination of their minimum inhibitory concentrations (MIC) and time-killing kinetics. The following important conclusions were drawn:

1) According to their MIC values, Preyssler P5W3014- (Figure 1A) and five Dawson-based P2W186-, P2W15V36-, P2O7Mo184-, As2Mo186-, AsW187- (Figures 1B, 2) POMs are promising antibacterial agents against M. catarrhalis.

2) The Preyssler type POT P5W3014- (Figure 1A) showed the highest antibacterial activity against M. catarrhalis (MIC = 1 μg/ml) and further MIC investigation against S. aureus and E. faecalis proved its antibacterial potential.

3) Based on MIC values, Dawson-type POMs (see Figure 1B) exhibited highest activity and selectivity against M. catarrhalis.

4) Among Keggin-type POMs (see Figures 1C-E), only the mono-substituted CoTiW116- (Figure 1D) showed MIC comparable to that of the Dawson-type group.

5) POVs and Anderson type POMs (Figure 1I) were inactive (MIC > 256 μg/ml) against M. catarrhalis strain.

6) According to time-killing studies three the most active POTs (Preyssler P5W3014- and Dawson P2W186- and P2W15V36-) showed bacteriostatic effect against M. catarrhalis.

7) POM activity mainly depends on composition, shape and size, but in the case of medium-size POTs correlates with the total net charge.

Author Contributions

NG and AR contributed toward the study design, wrote the manuscript. NG, EA-S, and LK synthesized and characterized POMs. HC-P and DV performed all antibacterial study. All authors read and approved the final version of the manuscript.


This research was funded by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF): P27534 (AR), M2203 (NG), and M2200 (LK) and University of Vienna, Austria.

Conflict of Interest Statement

The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest.


The authors are grateful to Prof. Dr. Gerald Giester for support with X-ray measurements at the Institut für Mineralogie und Kristallographie, Univ. of Vienna and to Dr. Aleksandar Bijelic and Dr. Joscha Breibeck for valuable discussions regarding this work.


Bae, E., Lee, J. W., Hwang, B. H., Yeo, J., Yoon, J., Cha, H. J., et al. (2008). Photocatalytic bacterial inactivation by polyoxometalates. Chemosphere 72, 174-181. doi: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2008.01.071

PubMed Abstract | CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Barry, A. L., Craig, W. A., Nadler, H., Reller, L. B., Sanders, C. C., and Swenson, J. M. (1999). Methods for Determining Bactericidal Activity of Antimicrobial Agents: Approved Guideline. NCCLS document M26-A 19 (18). Wayne, PA: National Committee for Clinical Laboratory Standards.

Google Scholar

Bi, L. H., Wang, E. B., Peng, J., Huang, R. D., Xu, L., and Hu, C. W. (2000). Crystal structure and replacement reaction of coordinated water molecules of the heteropoly compounds of sandwich-type tungstoarsenates. Inorg. Chem. 39, 671-679. doi: 10.1021/ic990596v

PubMed Abstract | CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Bijelic, A., Aureliano, M., and Rompel, A. (2018). The antibacterial activity of polyoxometalates: structures, antibiotic effects and future perspectives. Chem. Commun. 54, 1153-1169. doi: 10.1039/C7CC07549A

PubMed Abstract | CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Bijelic, A., and Rompel, A. (2015). The use of polyoxometalates in protein crystallography-An attempt to widen a well-known bottleneck. Coord. Chem. Rev. 299, 22-38. doi: 10.1016/j.ccr.2015.03.018

PubMed Abstract | CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Bijelic, A., and Rompel, A. (2017). Ten good reasons for the use of the tellurium-centered Anderson-Evans polyoxotungstate in protein crystallography. Acc. Chem.Res. 50, 1441-1448. doi: 10.1021/acs.accounts.7b00109

PubMed Abstract | CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Blazevic, A., and Rompel, A. (2016). The Anderson-Evans polyoxometalate: from inorganic building blocks via hybrid organic-inorganic structures to tomorrows “Bio-POM”. Coord. Chem. Rev. 307, 42-64. doi: 10.1016/j.ccr.2015.07.001

CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Briand, L. E., Valle, G. M., and Thomas, H. J. (2002). Stability of the phospho-molybdic Dawson-type ion P2Mo18O626- in aqueous media. J. Mat. Chem. 12, 299-304. doi: 10.1039/b106769a

CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Clemente-Juan, J. M., Coronado, E., and Gaita-Ariño, A. (2012). Magnetic polyoxometalates: from molecular magnetism to molecular spintronics and quantum computing. Chem. Soc. Rev. 41, 7464-7478. doi: 10.1039/c2cs35205b

PubMed Abstract | CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Contant, R., Klemperer, W. G., and Yaghi, O. (2007). “Potassium octadecatungstodiphosphates(V) and related lacunary compounds,” in Inorganic Syntheses, ed A. P. Ginsberg (New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.), 104–111.

Google Scholar

Del Beccaro, M. A., Mendelman, P. M., Inglis, A. F., Richardson, M. A., Duncan, N. O., Clausen, C. R., et al. (1992). Bacteriology of acute otitis media: a new perspective. J. Pediatr. 120, 81-84. doi: 10.1016/S0022-3476(05)80605-5

PubMed Abstract | CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Dizaj, S. M., Lotfipour, F., Barzegar-Jalali, M., Zarrintan, M. H., and Adibkia, K. (2014). Antimicrobial activity of the metals and metal oxide nanoparticles. Mater. Sci. Eng. C 44, 278-284. doi: 10.1016/j.msec.2014.08.031

PubMed Abstract | CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Evans, H. T., and Rollins, O. W. (1976). Sodium paradodecatungstate 20-hydrate. Acta Cryst. B 32, 1565-1567. doi: 10.1107/S0567740876005827

CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Finke, R. G., Rapko, B., Saxton, R. J., and Domaille, P. J. (1986). Trisubstituted heteropolytungstates as soluble metal oxide analogs. 31. synthesis, characterization, 31P, 29Si, 51V, and 1-and 2-D 183W NMR, deprotonation, and proton mobility studies of organic solvent solute forms of HxSiW9V3O40x-7 and HxP2W15V3O62x-9. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 108, 2947-2960. doi: 10.1021/ja00271a025

CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Fu, L., Gao, H., Yan, M., Shouzhu, L., Xinyu, L., Dai, Z., et al. (2015). Polyoxometalate-based organic-inorganic hybrids as antitumor drugs. Small 11, 2938-2945. doi: 10.1002/smll.201500232

PubMed Abstract | CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Fukuda, N., and Yamase, T. (1997). In vitro antibacterial activity of vanadate and vanadyl compounds against Streptococcus pneumoniae. Biol. Pharm. Bull. 20, 927-930. doi: 10.1248/bpb.20.927

PubMed Abstract | CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Gao, J., Yan, J., Beeg, S., Long, D. L., and Cronin, L. (2013). One-pot versus sequential reactions in the self-assembly of gigantic nanoscale polyoxotungstates. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 135, 1796-1805. doi: 10.1021/ja309237x

PubMed Abstract | CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Gao, N., Sun, H., Dong, K., Ren, J., Duan, T., Xu, C., et al. (2014). Transition-metal-substituted polyoxometalate derivatives as functional anti-amyloid agents for Alzheimer's disease. Nat. Commun. 5:3422. doi: 10.1038/ncomms4422

PubMed Abstract | CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Gotoh, N., Tanaka, S., and Nishino, T. (1989). Supersusceptibility to hydrophobic antimicrobial agents and cell surface hydrophobicity in Branhamella catarrhalis. FEMS Microbiol. Lett. 59, 211-213. doi: 10.1111/j.1574-6968.1989.tb03112.x

CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Gotoh, N., Tanaka, S., and Nishino, T. (1992). Permeability of the outer membrane of Moraxella catarrhalis for β-lactam antibiotics. J. Antimicrob. Chemother. 29, 279-285. doi: 10.1093/jac/29.3.279

PubMed Abstract | CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Gumerova, N. I., Melnik, N. A., Rozantsev, G. M., Baumer, V. N., and Radio, S. V. (2015). Sodium heteropolyhexamolybdenumnickelate (II) Na4[Ni(OH)6Mo6O18]·16H2O with an Anderson anion: synthesis and crystal structure. J. Struct. Chem. 56, 926-933. doi: 10.1134/S0022476615050157

CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Gumerova, N. I., Roller, A., and Rompel, A. (2016). [Ni(OH)3W6O18(OCH2)3CCH2OH]4−: the first tris-functionalized Anderson-type heteropolytungstate. Chem. Commun. 52, 9263-9266. doi: 10.1039/C6CC04326G

PubMed Abstract | CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Hori, T., and Himeno, S. (1987). Preparation of a yellow heteropoly molybdosulfate. Chem. Lett. 16, 53-56. doi: 10.1246/cl.1987.53

CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Ichida, H., and Sasaki, Y. (1983). The structure of hexaguanidinium octadecamolybdodiarsenate enneahydrate, (CH6N3)6[As2Mo18O62]·9H2O. Acta Cryst. C 39, 529-533. doi: 10.1107/S0108270183005363

CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Inoue, M., Segawa, K., Matsunaga, S., Matsumoto, N., Oda, M., and Yamase, T. (2005). Antibacterial activity of highly negative charged polyoxotungstates, K27[KAs4W40O140] and K18[KSb9W21O86], and Keggin-structural polyoxotungstates against Helicobacter pylori. J. Inorg. Biochem. 99, 1023-1031. doi: 10.1016/j.jinorgbio.2005.01.010

PubMed Abstract | CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Jeannin, Y., and Martin-Frere, J. (1979). X-ray study of (NH4)7[H2AsW18O60]·16H2O: first example of a heteropolyanion containing protons and arsenic (III). Inorg. Chem. 18, 3010-3014. doi: 10.1021/ic50201a013

CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Jeannin, Y., Martin-Frere, J., Choi, D. J., and Pope, M. T. (2007). “The sodium pentaphosphato(V)-triacontatungstate anion isolated as the ammonium salt,” in Inorganic Syntheses, ed A. P. Ginsberg (New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.), 115–118.

Google Scholar

Judd, D. A., Nettles, J. H., Nevins, N., Snyder, J. P., Liotta, D. C., Tang, J., et al. (2001). Polyoxometalate HIV-1 protease inhibitors. A new mode of protease inhibition. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 123, 886-897. doi: 10.1021/ja001809e

PubMed Abstract | CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Karalus, R., and Campagnari, A. (2000). Moraxella catarrhalis: a review of an important human mucosal pathogen. Microbes Infect. 2, 547-559. doi: 10.1016/S1286-4579(00)00314-2

PubMed Abstract | CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Klemperer, W. G. (2007). “Tetrabutylammonium isopolyoxometalates,” in Inorganic Syntheses, ed A. P. Ginsberg (New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.), 74–85.

Google Scholar

Kobayashi, D., Nakahara, H., Shibata, O., Unoura, K., and Nabika, H. (2017). Interplay of hydrophobic and electrostatic interactions between polyoxometalates and lipid molecules. J. Phys. Chem. C 121, 12895-12902. doi: 10.1021/acs.jpcc.7b01774

CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Komura, A., Hayashi, M., and Imanaga, H. (1976). Heteropolytungstates containing cobalt (II) or cobalt (III). Bull. Chem. Soc. Jpn. 49, 87-91. doi: 10.1246/bcsj.49.87

CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Kortz, U., and Pope, M. T. (1994). Polyoxometalate-diphosphate complexes. 2. structure of 18-molybdopyrophosphate, [(P2O7)Mo18O54]4−, which encloses a linear, eclipsed conformation of the pyrophosphate anion, and preliminary characterization of its one-and two-electron heteropoly blues. Inorg. Chem. 33, 5643-5646. doi: 10.1021/ic00103a008

CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Kortz, U., Savelieff, M. G., Bassil, B. S., and Dickman, M. H. (2001). A large, novel polyoxotungstate: [As6IIIW65O217(H2O)7]26−. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 40, 3384-3386. doi: 10.1002/1521-3773(20010917)40:18<3384::AID-ANIE3384>3.0.CO;2-O

CrossRef Full Text

Kraus, W., Stephan, H., Röllich, A., and Reck, G. (2005). K6H2[CoTiW11O40]·13H2O, with a monotitanoundecatungstocobaltate (II) anion. Acta Cryst. E61, i35-i37. doi: 10.1107/S1600536805005180

CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Lee, U., and Joo, H. C. (2003). Potassium-sodium double salt of decavanadate, K4Na2[V10O28]·10H2O. Acta Cryst. E 59, i122-i124. doi: 10.1107/S1600536803016453

CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Li, J., Chen, Z., Zhou, M., Jing, J., Li, W., Wang, Y., et al. (2016). Polyoxometalate-driven self-assembly of short peptides into multivalent nanofibers with enhanced antibacterial activity. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 55, 2592-2595. doi: 10.1002/anie.201511276

PubMed Abstract | CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Lode, H., Borner, K., Koeppe, P., and Schaberg, T. (1996). Azithromycin - review of key chemical, pharmacokinetic and microbiological features. J. Antimicrob. Chemother. 37, 1-8.

PubMed Abstract | Google Scholar

López, X., Fernández, J. A., and Poblet, J. M. (2006). Redox properties of polyoxometalates: new insights on the anion charge effect. Dalton Trans. 1162–1167. doi: 10.1039/B507599H

PubMed Abstract | CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Miras, H. N., Yan, J., Long, D. L., and Cronin, L. (2008). Structural evolution of “S”-shaped [H4W22O74]12− and “§”-shaped [H10W34O116]18− isopolyoxotungstate clusters. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 47, 8420-8423. doi: 10.1002/anie.200802109

PubMed Abstract | CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Molitor, C., Bijelic, A., and Rompel, A. (2017). The potential of hexatungstotellurate (VI) to induce a significant entropic gain during protein crystallization. IUCr J. 4, 34-740. doi: 10.1107/S2052252517012349

PubMed Abstract | CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Müller, C. E., Iqbal, J., Baqi, Y., Zimmermann, H., Röllich, A., and Stephan, H. (2006). Polyoxometalates-a new class of potent ecto-nucleoside triphosphate diphosphohydrolase (NTPDase) inhibitors. Bioorg. Med. Chem. Lett. 16, 5943-5947. doi: 10.1016/j.bmcl.2006.09.003

PubMed Abstract | CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Nomiya, K., Torii, H., Hasegawa, T., Nemoto, Y., Nomura, K., Hashino, K., et al. (2001). Insulin mimetic effect of a tungstate cluster. Effect of oral administration of homo-polyoxotungstates and vanadium-substituted polyoxotungstates on blood glucose level of STZ mice. J. Inorg. Biochem. 86, 657-667. doi: 10.1016/S0162-0134(01)00233-1

PubMed Abstract | CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Pankey, G. A., and Sabath, L. D. (2004). Clinical relevance of bacteriostatic versus bactericidal mechanisms of action in the treatment of Gram-positive bacterial infections. Clin. Infect. Dis. 38, 864-870. doi: 10.1086/381972

PubMed Abstract | CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Phillips, M. A. (1950). The preparation of phosphotungstic acid and of sodium and barium phosphotungstates. J. Chem. Technol. Biotechnol. 69, 282-284. doi: 10.1002/jctb.5000690906

CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Pope, M. (1983). Heteropoly and Isopoly Oxometalates, Inorganic Chemistry Concepts. Berlin: Springer.

Proust, A., Thouvenot, R., and Gouzerh, P. (2008). Functionalization of polyoxometalates: towards advanced applications in catalysis and materials science. Chem. Commun. 1837–1852. doi: 10.1039/B715502F

PubMed Abstract | CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Rozantsev, G. M., Radio, S. V., Gumerova, N. I., Baumer, V. N., and Shishkin, O. B. (2009). Phase formation in the Ni2+-WO42--H+-H2O system (Z= 1.00). crystal structure and properties of sodium heteropolyhexatunsten nickelate (2+) Na4[Ni(OH)6W6O18]·16H2O. J. Struct. Chem. 50, 296-305. doi: 10.1007/s10947-009-0041-z

CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Sadakane, M., and Steckhan, E. (1998). Electrochemical properties of polyoxometalates as electrocatalysts. Chem. Rev. 98, 1, 219-238. doi: 10.1021/cr960403a

PubMed Abstract | CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Saha, A. K., Crans, D. C., Pope, T. M., Simone, C. M., and Glew, R. H. (1991). Inhibition of human seminal fluid and leishmania donovani phosphatases by molybdate heteropolyanions. J. Biol. Chem. 266, 3511-3517.

PubMed Abstract | Google Scholar

Schmidt, K. J., Schrobilgen, G. J., and Sawyer, J. F. (1986). Hexasodium hexatungstotellurate (VI) 22-hydrate. Acta Cryst. C42, 1115-1118. doi: 10.1107/S0108270186093204

CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Schwendt, P., Tracey, A. S., Tatiersky, J., Gáliková, J., and Žák, Z. (2007). Vanadium(V) tartrato complexes: speciation in the H3O+(OH)/H2VO4-/(2R,3R)-tartrate system and X-ray crystal structures of Na4[V4O8(rac-tart)2]·12H2O and (NEt4)4[V4O8((R,R)-tart)2]·6H2O (tart = C4H2O64-). Inorg. Chem. 46, 3971-3983. doi: 10.1021/ic062223h

PubMed Abstract | CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Shah, H. S., Al-Oweini, R., Haider, A., Kortz, U., and Iqbal, J. (2014). Cytotoxicity and enzyme inhibition studies of polyoxometalates and their chitosan nanoassemblies. Toxicol. Rep. 1, 341-352. doi: 10.1016/j.toxrep.2014.06.001

PubMed Abstract | CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Tajima, Y. (2001). Lacunary-substituted undecatungstosilicates sensitize methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus to β-lactams. Biol. Pharm. Bull. 24, 1079-1084. doi: 10.1248/bpb.24.1079

PubMed Abstract | CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Téazéa, A., Hervéa, G., Finke, R. G., and Lyon, D. K. (2007). “α-, β-, and γ-dodecatungstosilicic acids: isomers and related lacunary compounds,” in Inorganic Syntheses, ed A. P. Ginsberg (New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.), 85–96.

Google Scholar

Tourné, C., Revel, A., Tourné, G., and Vendrell, M. (1973). Heteropolytungstates containing elements of phosphorus family with degree of oxidation (III) or (V)-identification of species having composition X2W19 and XW9 (X = P, As, Sb, Bi) and relation to those with composition XW11. C. R. Acad. Sci. Ser. C277, 643-645.

Tsujimoto, H., Gotoh, N., and Nishino, T. (1999). Diffusion of macrolide antibiotics through the outer membrane of Moraxella catarrhalis. J. Infect. Chemother. 5, 196-200. doi: 10.1007/s101560050034

PubMed Abstract | CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Wang, S. S., and Yang, G. Y. (2015). Recent advances in polyoxometalate-catalyzed reactions. Chem. Rev. 115, 4893-4962. doi: 10.1021/cr500390v

PubMed Abstract | CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Wikler, M. A. (2009). Methods for Dilution Antimicrobial Susceptibility Test for Bacteria That Grow Aerobically. Approved Standard M7-A8. Wayne, PA: Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute.

Google Scholar

Yamase, T. (2005). Anti-tumor,-viral, and -bacterial activities of polyoxometalates for realizing an inorganic drug. J. Mater. Chem. 15, 4773-4782. doi: 10.1039/b504585a

CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Yamase, T., Fukuda, N., and Tajima, Y. (1996). Synergistic effect of polyoxotungstates in combination with β-lactam antibiotics on antibacterial activity against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. Biol. Pharm. Bull. 19, 459-465. doi: 10.1248/bpb.19.459

PubMed Abstract | CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

Yamase, T., and Pope, M. (2006). Polyoxometalate Chemistry for Nano-Composite Design. New York, NY: Springer Science & Business Media.

Google Scholar

Keywords: bioactive polyoxometalates, metal-oxo clusters, Preyssler archetype, Dawson archetype, minimum inhibitory concentration, time-killing analysis, Gram-negative pathogen

Citation: Gumerova NI, Al-Sayed E, Krivosudský L, Čipčić-Paljetak H, Verbanac D and Rompel A (2018) Antibacterial Activity of Polyoxometalates Against Moraxella catarrhalis. Front. Chem. 6:336. doi: 10.3389/fchem.2018.00336

Received: 23 March 2018; Accepted: 19 July 2018;
Published: 14 August 2018.

Edited by:

Debbie C. Crans, Colorado State University, United States

Reviewed by:

Guo-Hong Tao, Sichuan University, China
Eimer Mary Tuite, Newcastle University, United Kingdom

Copyright © 2018 Gumerova, Al-Sayed, Krivosudský, Čipčić-Paljetak, Verbanac and Rompel. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

*Correspondence: Annette Rompel,