Increasing the Antimicrobial Activity of Nisin-Based Lantibiotics against Gram-Negative Pathogens.
ABSTRACT: Lantibiotics are ribosomally synthesized and posttranslationally modified antimicrobial compounds containing lanthionine and methyl-lanthionine residues. Nisin, one of the most extensively studied and used lantibiotics, has been shown to display very potent activity against Gram-positive bacteria, and stable resistance is rarely observed. By binding to lipid II and forming pores in the membrane, nisin can cause the efflux of cellular constituents and inhibit cell wall biosynthesis. However, the activity of nisin against Gram-negative bacteria is much lower than that against Gram-positive bacteria, mainly because lipid II is located at the inner membrane, and the rather impermeable outer membrane in Gram-negative bacteria prevents nisin from reaching lipid II. Thus, if the outer membrane-traversing efficiency of nisin could be increased, the activity against Gram-negative bacteria could, in principle, be enhanced. In this work, several relatively short peptides with activity against Gram-negative bacteria were selected from literature data to be fused as tails to the C terminus of either full or truncated nisin species. Among these, we found that one of three tails (tail 2 [T2; DKYLPRPRPV], T6 [NGVQPKY], and T8 [KIAKVALKAL]) attached to a part of nisin displayed improved activity against Gram-negative microorganisms. Next, we rationally designed and reengineered the most promising fusion peptides. Several mutants whose activity significantly outperformed that of nisin against Gram-negative pathogens were obtained. The activity of the tail 16 mutant 2 (T16m2) construct against several important Gram-negative pathogens (i.e., Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Acinetobacter baumannii, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Enterobacter aerogenes) was increased 4- to 12-fold compared to that of nisin. This study indicates that the rational design of nisin can selectively and significantly improve its outer membrane-permeating capacity as well as its activity against Gram-negative pathogens.IMPORTANCE Lantibiotics are antimicrobial peptides that are highly active against Gram-positive bacteria but that have relatively poor activity against most Gram-negative bacteria. Here, we modified the model lantibiotic nisin by fusing parts of it to antimicrobial peptides with known activity against Gram-negative bacteria. The appropriate selection of peptidic moieties that could be attached to (parts of) nisin could lead to a significant increase in its inhibitory activity against Gram-negative bacteria. Using this strategy, hybrids that outperformed nisin by displaying 4- to 12-fold higher levels of activity against relevant Gram-negative bacterial species were produced. This study shows the power of modified peptide engineering to alter target specificity in a desired direction.
Project description:Lantibiotics are antimicrobial (methyl)lanthionine-containing peptides produced by various Gram-positive bacteria. The model lantibiotic, nisin, binds lipid II in the cell membrane. Additionally, after binding it can insert into the membrane creating a pore. Nisin can efficiently inhibit the growth of Gram-positive bacteria and resistance is rarely observed. However, the activity of lantibiotics is at least 100-fold lower against certain Gram-negative bacteria. This is caused by the fact that Gram-negative bacteria have an outer membrane that hinders the peptides to reach lipid II, which is located in the inner membrane. Improving the activity of lantibiotics against Gram-negative bacteria could be achieved if the outer membrane traversing efficiency is increased. Here, several anti-Gram-negative peptides (e.g., apidaecin 1b, oncocin), or parts thereof, were fused to the C-terminus of either a truncated version of nisin containing the first three/five rings or full length nisin. The activities of these fusion peptides were tested against Gram-negative pathogens. Our results showed that when an eight amino acids (PRPPHPRL) tail from apidaecin 1b was attached to nisin, the activity of nisin against Escherichia coli CECT101 was increased more than two times. This research presents a new and promising method to increase the anti-Gram-negative activity of lantibiotics.
Project description:Lantibiotics are ribosomally synthesized (methyl)lanthionine containing peptides which can efficiently inhibit the growth of Gram-positive bacteria. As lantibiotics kill bacteria efficiently and resistance to them is difficult to be obtained, they have the potential to be used in many applications, e.g., in pharmaceutical industry or food industry. Nisin can inhibit the growth of Gram-positive bacteria by binding to lipid II and by making pores in their membrane. The C-terminal part of nisin is known to play an important role during translocation over the membrane and forming pore complexes. However, as the thickness of bacterial membranes varies between different species and environmental conditions, this property could have an influence on the pore forming activity of nisin. To investigate this, the so-called "hinge region" of nisin (residues NMK) was engineered to vary from one to six amino acid residues and specific activity against different indicators was compared. Antimicrobial activity in liquid culture assays showed that wild type nisin is most active, while truncation of the hinge region dramatically reduced the activity of the peptide. However, one or two amino acids extensions showed only slightly reduced activity against most indicator strains. Notably, some variants (+2, +1, -1, -2) exhibited higher antimicrobial activity than nisin in agar well diffusion assays against Lactococcus lactis MG1363, Listeria monocytogenes, Enterococcus faecalis VE14089, Bacillus sporothermodurans IC4 and Bacillus cereus 4153 at certain temperatures.
Project description:Lantibiotics are ribosomally synthesized and post-translationally modified peptide natural products that contain thioether cross-links formed by lanthionine and methyllanthionine residues. They exert potent antimicrobial activity against Gram-positive bacteria. We herein report production of analogues of two lantibiotics, lacticin 481 and nisin, that contain nonproteinogenic amino acids using two different strategies involving amber stop codon suppression technology. These methods complement recent alternative approaches to incorporate nonproteinogenic amino acids into lantibiotics.
Project description:Lantibiotics are ribosomally produced and posttranslationally modified peptides containing several lanthionine residues. They exhibit substantial antimicrobial activity against Gram-positive bacteria, including relevant pathogens. The production of the model lantibiotic nisin minimally requires the expression of the modification and export machinery. The last step during nisin maturation is the cleavage of the leader peptide. This liberates the active compound and is catalyzed by the cell wall-anchored protease NisP. Here, we report the production and purification of a soluble variant of NisP. This has enabled us to study its specificity and test its suitability for biotechnological applications. The ability of soluble NisP to cleave leaders from various substrates was tested with two sets of nisin variants. The first set was designed to investigate the influence of amino acid variations in the leader peptide or variations around the cleavage site. The second set was designed to study the influence of the lanthionine ring topology on the proteolytic efficiency. We show that the substrate promiscuity is higher than has previously been suggested. Our results demonstrate the importance of the arginine residue at the end of the leader peptide and the importance of lanthionine rings in the substrate for specific cleavage. Collectively, these data indicate that NisP is a suitable protease for the activation of diverse heterologously expressed lantibiotics, which is required to release active antimicrobial compounds.
Project description:Lantibiotics, bacteria-sourced antimicrobial peptides, are very good candidates for effective and safe food additives. Among them, nisin is already approved by the EU and FDA, and has been used in food preservation for the past 40 years. Now, there is a possibility and strong interest to extend its applicability to biomedicine for designing innovative alternatives to antibiotics. The main obstacle is, however, its naturally narrow spectrum of antimicrobial activity, focused on Gram positive bacteria. Here we demonstrate broadening nisin's spectrum to Gram negative bacteria using a nano-engineering approach. After binding nisin molecules to the surface of gold nano-features, uniformly deposited on spherical carbon templates, we created a nanocomposite with a high density of positively charged groups. Before assembly, none of the components of the nanocomposite showed any activity against bacterial growth, which was changed after assembly in the form of the nanocomposite. For the first time we showed that this type of structure enables interactions capable of disintegrating the wall of Gram negative bacteria. As confirmed by the nisin model, the developed approach opens up new horizons for the use of lantibiotics in designing post-antibiotic drugs.
Project description:A number of Gram-positive bacteria produce a class of bacteriocins called `lantibiotics'. These lantibiotics are ribosomally synthesized peptides that possess high antimicrobial activity against Gram-positive bacteria, including clinically challenging pathogens, and are therefore potential alternatives to antibiotics. All lantibiotic producer strains and some Gram-positive nonproducer strains express protein systems to circumvent a suicidal effect or to become resistant, respectively. Two-component systems consisting of a response regulator and a histidine kinase upregulate the expression of these proteins. One of the best-characterized lantibiotics is nisin, which is produced by Lactococcus lactis and possesses bactericidal activity against various Gram-positive bacteria, including some human pathogenic strains. Within many human pathogenic bacterial strains inherently resistant to nisin, a response regulator, NsrR, has been identified which regulates the expression of proteins involved in nisin resistance. In the present study, an expression and purification protocol was established for the NsrR protein from Streptococcus agalactiae COH1. The protein was successfully crystallized using the vapour-diffusion method, resulting in crystals that diffracted X-rays to 1.4 Å resolution.
Project description:Lantibiotics are potent antimicrobial peptides. Nisin is the most prominent member and contains five crucial lanthionine rings. Some clinically relevant bacteria express membrane-associated resistance proteins that proteolytically inactivate nisin. However, substrate recognition and specificity of these proteins is unknown. Here, we report the first three-dimensional structure of a nisin resistance protein from Streptococcus agalactiae (SaNSR) at 2.2 Å resolution. It contains an N-terminal helical bundle, and protease cap and core domains. The latter harbors the highly conserved TASSAEM region, which lies in a hydrophobic tunnel formed by all domains. By integrative modeling, mutagenesis studies, and genetic engineering of nisin variants, a model of the SaNSR/nisin complex is generated, revealing that SaNSR recognizes the last C-terminally located lanthionine ring of nisin. This determines the substrate specificity of SaNSR and ensures the exact coordination of the nisin cleavage site at the TASSAEM region.
Project description:Lantibiotics are ribosomally synthesized antimicrobial peptides secreted by mainly Gram-positive bacteria. Class 1 lantibiotics mature via two modification steps introduced by a modification LanBC complex. For the lantibiotic nisin, the dehydratase NisB catalyzes the dehydration of serine and threonine residues in the so-called core peptide. Second, five (methyl)-lanthionine rings are introduced in a regio- and stereospecific manner by the cyclase NisC. Here, we characterized the assembly of the NisBC complex in vitro, which is only formed in the presence of the substrate. The complex is composed of a NisB dimer, a monomer of NisC and one prenisin molecule. Interestingly, the presence of the last lanthionine ring prevented complex formation. This stoichiometry was verified by small-angle X-ray scattering measurements, which revealed the first structural glimpse of a LanBC complex in solution.
Project description:Lantibiotics are a growing class of antimicrobial peptides, which possess antimicrobial activity against mainly Gram-positive bacteria including the highly resistant strains such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus or vancomycin-resistant enterococci. In the last decades numerous lantibiotics were discovered in natural habitats or designed with bioengineering tools. In this study, we present an insight in the antimicrobial potential of the natural occurring lantibiotic nisin H from Streptococcus hyointestinalis as well as the variant nisin H F1I. We determined the yield of the heterologously expressed peptide and quantified the cleavage efficiency employing the nisin protease NisP. Furthermore, we analyzed the effect on the modification via mass spectrometry analysis. With standardized growth inhibition assays we benchmarked the activity of pure nisin H and the variant nisin H F1I, and their influence on the activity of the nisin immunity proteins NisI and NisFEG from Lactococcus lactis and the nisin resistance proteins SaNSR and SaNsrFP from Streptococcus agalactiae COH1. We further checked the antibacterial activity against clinical isolates of Staphylococcus aureus, Enterococcus faecium and Enterococcus faecalis via microdilution method. In summary, nisin H and the nisin H F1I variant possessed better antimicrobial potency than the natural nisin A.
Project description:Lantibiotics are a growing class of natural compounds, which possess antimicrobial activity against a broad range of Gram-positive bacteria. Their high potency against human pathogenic strains such as MRSA and VRE makes them excellent candidates as substitutes for classic antibiotics in times of increasing multidrug resistance of bacterial strains. New lantibiotics are detected in genomes and can be heterologously expressed. The functionality of these novel lantibiotics requires a systematic purification and characterization to benchmark them against for example the well-known lantibiotic nisin. Here, we used a standardized workflow to characterize lantibiotics consisting of six individual steps. The expression and secretion of the lantibiotic was performed employing the promiscuous nisin modification machinery. We mutated the first amino acid of nisin into all proteinaceous amino acids and compared their bactericidal potency against sensitive strains as well as strains expressing nisin resistance proteins. Interestingly, we can highlight four distinct groups based on the residual activity of nisin against sensitive as well as resistant L. lactis strains.