Induction of the Cpx envelope stress pathway contributes to Escherichia coli tolerance to antimicrobial peptides.
ABSTRACT: Antimicrobial peptides produced by multicellular organisms as part of their innate system of defense against microorganisms are currently considered potential alternatives to conventional antibiotics in case of infection by multiresistant bacteria. However, while the mode of action of antimicrobial peptides is relatively well described, resistance mechanisms potentially induced or selected by these peptides are still poorly understood. In this work, we studied the mechanisms of action and resistance potentially induced by ApoEdpL-W, a new antimicrobial peptide derived from human apolipoprotein E. Investigation of the genetic response of Escherichia coli upon exposure to sublethal concentrations of ApoEdpL-W revealed that this antimicrobial peptide triggers activation of RcsCDB, CpxAR, and ?(E) envelope stress pathways. This genetic response is not restricted to ApoEdpL-W, since several other antimicrobial peptides, including polymyxin B, melittin, LL-37, and modified S4 dermaseptin, also activate several E. coli envelope stress pathways. Finally, we demonstrate that induction of the CpxAR two-component system directly contributes to E. coli tolerance toward ApoEdpL-W, polymyxin B, and melittin. These results therefore show that E. coli senses and responds to different antimicrobial peptides by activation of the CpxAR pathway. While this study further extends the understanding of the array of peptide-induced stress signaling systems, it also provides insight into the contribution of Cpx envelope stress pathway to E. coli tolerance to antimicrobial peptides.
Project description:For proper biofilm formation, bacteria must have mechanisms in place to sense adhesion to surfaces. In Escherichia coli, the CpxAR and RcsCDB systems have been reported to sense surfaces. The CpxAR system is widely considered to be responsible for sensing attachment, specifically to hydrophobic surfaces. Here, using both single-cell and population-level analyses, we confirm RcsCDB activation upon surface contact, but find that the CpxAR system is not activated, in contrast to what had earlier been reported. Thus, the role of CpxAR in surface sensing and initiation of biofilm formation should be reconsidered.
Project description:Acinetobacter baumannii is a prevalent pathogen in hospital settings with increasing importance in infections associated with biofilm production. Due to a rapid increase in its drug resistance and the failure of commonly available antibiotics to treat A. baumannii infections, this bacterium has become a critical public health issue. For these multi-drug resistant A. baumannii, polymyxin antibiotics are considered the only option for the treatment of severe infections. Concerning, several polymyxin-resistant A. baumannii strains have been isolated over the last few years. This study utilized pan drug-resistant (PDR) strains of A. baumannii isolated in Brazil, along with susceptible (S) and extreme drug-resistant (XDR) strains in order to evaluate the in vitro activity of melittin, an antimicrobial peptide, in comparison to polymyxin and another antibiotic, imipenem. From a broth microdilution method, the determined minimum inhibitory concentration showed that S and XDR strains were susceptible to melittin. In contrast, PDR A. baumannii was resistant to all treatments. Treatment with the peptide was also observed to inhibit biofilm formation of a susceptible strain and appeared to cause permanent membrane damage. A subpopulation of PDR showed membrane damage, however, it was not sufficient to stop bacterial growth, suggesting that alterations involved with antibiotic resistance could also influence melittin resistance. Presumably, mutations in the PDR that have arisen to confer resistance to widely used therapeutics also confer resistance to melittin. Our results demonstrate the potential of melittin to be used in the control of bacterial infections and suggest that antimicrobial peptides can serve as the basis for the development of new treatments.
Project description:Outer membrane vesicles (OMVs) are constitutively produced by Gram-negative bacteria throughout growth and have proposed roles in virulence, inflammation, and the response to envelope stress. Here we investigate outer membrane vesiculation as a bacterial mechanism for immediate short-term protection against outer membrane acting stressors. Antimicrobial peptides as well as bacteriophage were used to examine the effectiveness of OMV protection.We found that a hyper-vesiculating mutant of Escherichia coli survived treatment by antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) polymyxin B and colistin better than the wild-type. Supplementation of E. coli cultures with purified outer membrane vesicles provided substantial protection against AMPs, and AMPs significantly induced vesiculation. Vesicle-mediated protection and induction of vesiculation were also observed for a human pathogen, enterotoxigenic E. coli (ETEC), challenged with polymyxin B. When ETEC with was incubated with low concentrations of vesicles concomitant with polymyxin B treatment, bacterial survival increased immediately, and the culture gained resistance to polymyxin B. By contrast, high levels of vesicles also provided immediate protection but prevented acquisition of resistance. Co-incubation of T4 bacteriophage and OMVs showed fast, irreversible binding. The efficiency of T4 infection was significantly reduced by the formation of complexes with the OMVs.These data reveal a role for OMVs in contributing to innate bacterial defense by adsorption of antimicrobial peptides and bacteriophage. Given the increase in vesiculation in response to the antimicrobial peptides, and loss in efficiency of infection with the T4-OMV complex, we conclude that OMV production may be an important factor in neutralizing environmental agents that target the outer membrane of Gram-negative bacteria.
Project description:Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) are the frontline innate defense system evolutionarily preserved in insects to combat invading pathogens. These AMPs could serve as an alternative to classical antibiotics to overcome the burden of treating multidrug resistant bacteria. Psacotheasin, a knottin type AMP was isolated from Psacothea hilaris and shown to exhibit antimicrobial activity, especially against fungi through apoptosis mediated cell death. In this study, we aimed to identify novel probable AMPs from Psacothea hilaris, the yellow spotted longicorn beetle. The beetle was immunized with the two bacterial strains (E. coli and S. aureus), and the yeast strain C. albicans. After immunization, total RNA was isolated and sequenced in Illumina platform. Then, beetle transcriptome was de novo assembled and searched for putative AMPs with the known physiochemical features of the AMPs. A selection of AMP candidates were synthesized and tested for antimicrobial activity. Four peptides showed stronger activity against E. coli than the control AMP, melittin while one peptide showed similar activity against S. aureus. Moreover, four peptides and two peptides showed antifungal activity stronger than and similar to melittin, respectively. Collectively one peptide showed both antibacterial and antifungal activity superior to melittin; thus, it provides a potent antimicrobial peptide. All the peptides showed no hemolysis in all the tested concentrations. These results suggest that in silico mining of insects' transcriptome could be a promising tool to obtain and optimize novel AMPs for human needs.
Project description:Human-?-defensins (HBD1-3) are antibacterial peptides containing three disulphide bonds. In the present study, the effect of Escherichia coli lipopolysaccharide (LPS) on the antibacterial activities of HBD2-3, C-terminal analogues having a single disulphide bond, Phd1-3, and their corresponding myristoylated analogues MPhd1-3 were investigated. The effect of LPS on the activities of linear amphipathic peptides melittin, LL37 and non-ribosomally synthesized peptides, polymyxin B, alamethicin, gramicidin A, and gramicidin S was also examined. The antibacterial activity of HBD 2-3, Phd1-3, and MPhd1-3 in the presence of LPS against E. coli and Staphylococcus aureus was inhibited. While LPS inhibited the antibacterial activity of LL37, the inhibition of melittin activity was partial. The hemolytic activity exhibited by MPhd1, MPhd3, melittin, and LL37 was inhibited in the presence of LPS. HBD2-3, Phd1-3, and MPhd1-3 also showed endotoxin neutralizing activity. The antibacterial and hemolytic activities of polymyxin B, alamethicin, gramicidin A, and gramicidin S were not inhibited in the presence of LPS. Fluorescence assays employing dansyl cadaverine showed that HBD2-3 and defensin analogues bind to LPS more strongly as compared to alamethicin, gramicidin A, and gramicidin S. Electron microscopy images indicated that peptides disintegrate the structure of LPS. The inhibition of the antibacterial activity of native defensins and analogues in the presence of LPS indicates that the initial interaction with the bacterial surface is similar. The native defensin sequence or structure is also not essential, although cationic charges are necessary for binding to LPS. Hydrophobic interaction is the main driving force for association of non-ribosomally synthesized polymyxin B, alamethicin, gramicidin A, and gramicidin S with LPS. It is likely that these peptides rapidly insert into membranes and do not interact with the bacterial cell surface, whereas cationic peptides such as ?-defensin and their analogues, melittin and LL37, first interact with the bacterial cell surface and then the membrane. Our results suggest that evaluating interaction of antibacterial and hemolytic peptides with LPS is a compelling way of elucidating the mechanism of bacterial killing or hemolysis.
Project description:The epidemic pathogen Vibrio cholerae senses and responds to different external stresses it encounters in the aquatic environment and in the human host. One stress that V. cholerae encounters in the host is exposure to antimicrobial peptides on mucosal surfaces. We used massively parallel cDNA sequencing (RNA-Seq) to quantitatively identify the transcriptome of V. cholerae grown in the presence and absence of sub-lethal concentrations of the antimicrobial peptide polymyxin B. We evaluated the transcriptome of both wild type V. cholerae and a mutant carrying a deletion of vc1639, a putative sensor kinase of an uncharacterized two-component system, under these conditions. In addition to many previously uncharacterized pathways responding with elevated transcript levels to polymyxin B exposure, we confirmed the predicted elevated transcript levels of a previously described LPS modification system in response to polymyxin B exposure. Additionally, we identified the V. cholerae homologue of visP (ygiW) as a regulatory target of VC1639. VisP is a conserved periplasmic protein implicated in lipid A modification in Salmonellae. This study provides the first systematic analysis of the transcriptional response of Vibrio cholerae to polymyxin B, raising important questions for further study regarding mechanisms used by V. cholerae to sense and respond to envelope stress.
Project description:Antimicrobial peptides are small, cationic proteins that can induce lysis of bacterial cells through interaction with their membranes. Different mechanisms for cell lysis have been proposed, but these models tend to neglect the role of the chemical composition of the membrane, which differs between bacterial species and can be heterogeneous even within a single cell. Moreover, the cell envelope of Gram-negative bacteria such as E. coli contains two membranes with differing compositions. To this end, we report the first molecular dynamics simulation study of the interaction of the antimicrobial peptide, polymyxin B1 with complex models of both the inner and outer membranes of E. coli. The results of >16 microseconds of simulation predict that polymyxin B1 is likely to interact with the membranes via distinct mechanisms. The lipopeptides aggregate in the lipopolysaccharide headgroup region of the outer membrane with limited tendency for insertion within the lipid A tails. In contrast, the lipopeptides readily insert into the inner membrane core, and the concomitant increased hydration may be responsible for bilayer destabilization and antimicrobial function. Given the urgent need to develop novel, potent antibiotics, the results presented here reveal key mechanistic details that may be exploited for future rational drug development.
Project description:Previously melittin, the alpha-helical basic honey bee venom peptide, was shown to inhibit F(1)-ATPase by binding at the beta-subunit DELSEED motif of F(1)F(o)-ATP synthase. Herein, we present the inhibitory effects of the basic alpha-helical amphibian antimicrobial peptides, ascaphin-8, aurein 2.2, aurein 2.3, carein 1.8, carein 1.9, citropin 1.1, dermaseptin, maculatin 1.1, maganin II, MRP, or XT-7, on purified F(1) and membrane bound F(1)F(0)Escherichia coli ATP synthase. We found that the extent of inhibition by amphibian peptides is variable. Whereas MRP-amide inhibited ATPase essentially completely (approximately 96% inhibition), carein 1.8 did not inhibit at all (0% inhibition). Inhibition by other peptides was partial with a range of approximately 13-70%. MRP-amide was also the most potent inhibitor on molar scale (IC(50) approximately 3.25 microM). Presence of an amide group at the c-terminal of peptides was found to be critical in exerting potent inhibition of ATP synthase ( approximately 20-40% additional inhibition). Inhibition was fully reversible and found to be identical in both F(1)F(0) membrane preparations as well as in isolated purified F(1). Interestingly, growth of E. coli was abrogated in the presence of ascaphin-8, aurein 2.2, aurein 2.3, citropin 1.1, dermaseptin, magainin II-amide, MRP, MRP-amide, melittin, or melittin-amide but was unaffected in the presence of carein 1.8, carein 1.9, maculatin 1.1, magainin II, or XT-7. Hence inhibition of F(1)-ATPase and E. coli cell growth by amphibian antimicrobial peptides suggests that their antimicrobial/anticancer properties are in part linked to their actions on ATP synthase.
Project description:IgaA is an integral inner membrane protein that was discovered as repressor of the RcsCDB phosphorelay system in the intracellular pathogen Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium. The RcsCDB system, conserved in many members of the family Enterobacteriaceae, regulates expression of varied processes including motility, biofilm formation, virulence and response to envelope stress. IgaA is an essential protein to which, in response to envelope perturbation, the outer membrane lipoprotein RcsF has been proposed to bind in order to activate the RcsCDB phosphorelay. Envelope stress has also been reported to be sensed by a surface exposed domain of RcsF. These observations support a tight control of the RcsCDB system by RcsF and IgaA via mechanisms that, however, remain unknown. Interestingly, RcsF and IgaA have four conserved cysteine residues in loops exposed to the periplasmic space. Two non-consecutive disulfide bonds were shown to be required for RcsF function. Here, we report mutagenesis studies supporting the presence of one disulfide bond (C404-C425) in the major periplasmic loop of IgaA that is essential for repression of the RcsCDB phosphorelay. Our data therefore suggest that the redox state of the periplasm may be critical for the control of the RcsCDB system by its two upstream regulators, RcsF and IgaA.
Project description:Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs), such as cecropin A from silk moth, are key components of the innate immune system. They are effective defensive weapons against invading pathogens, yet they do not target host eukaryotic cells. In contrast, peptide toxins, such as honeybee melittin, are nondiscriminating and target both eukaryotic and prokaryotic cells. An AMP-toxin hybrid peptide that is composed of cecropin A and melittin (CM15) improves upon the antimicrobial activity of cecropin A without displaying the nonspecific, hemolytic properties of melittin. Here we report fluorescence and UV resonance Raman spectra of melittin, cecropin A, and CM15 with the goal of elucidating peptide-membrane interactions that help guide specificity. We have probed the potency for membrane disruption, local environment and structure of the single tryptophan residue, backbone conformation near the peptide hinge, and amide backbone structure of the peptides in lipid environments that mimic eukaryotic and prokaryotic membranes. These experimental results suggest that melittin inserts deeply into the bilayer, whereas cecropin A remains localized to the lipid headgroup region. A surprising finding is that CM15 is a potent membrane-disruptor despite its largely unfolded conformation. A molecular dynamics analysis complements these data and demonstrates the ability of CM15 to associate favorably with membranes as an unfolded peptide. This combined experimental-computational study suggests that new models for peptide-membrane interactions should be considered.