TSPphg Lysin from the Extremophilic Thermus Bacteriophage TSP4 as a Potential Antimicrobial Agent against Both Gram-Negative and Gram-Positive Pathogenic Bacteria.
ABSTRACT: New strategies against antibiotic-resistant bacterial pathogens are urgently needed but are not within reach. Here, we present in vitro and in vivo antimicrobial activity of TSPphg, a novel phage lysin identified from extremophilic Thermus phage TSP4 by sequencing its whole genome. By breaking down the bacterial cells, TSPphg is able to cause bacteria destruction and has shown bactericidal activity against both Gram-negative and Gram-positive pathogenic bacteria, especially antibiotic-resistant strains of Klebsiella pneumoniae, in which the complete elimination and highest reduction in bacterial counts by greater than 6 logs were observed upon 50 ?g/mL TSPphg treatment at 37 °C for 1 h. A murine skin infection model further confirmed the in vivo efficacy of TSPphg in removing a highly dangerous and multidrug-resistant Staphylococcus aureus from skin damage and in accelerating wound closure. Together, our findings may offer a therapeutic alternative to help fight bacterial infections in the current age of mounting antibiotic resistance, and to shed light on bacteriophage-based strategies to develop novel anti-infectives.
Project description:Bacterial pathogens are becoming increasingly resistant to antibiotics. As an alternative therapeutic strategy, phage therapy reagents containing purified viral lysins have been developed against gram-positive organisms but not against gram-negative organisms due to the inability of these types of drugs to cross the bacterial outer membrane. We solved the crystal structures of a Yersinia pestis outer membrane transporter called FyuA and a bacterial toxin called pesticin that targets this transporter. FyuA is a ?-barrel membrane protein belonging to the family of TonB dependent transporters, whereas pesticin is a soluble protein with two domains, one that binds to FyuA and another that is structurally similar to phage T4 lysozyme. The structure of pesticin allowed us to design a phage therapy reagent comprised of the FyuA binding domain of pesticin fused to the N-terminus of T4 lysozyme. This hybrid toxin kills specific Yersinia and pathogenic E. coli strains and, importantly, can evade the pesticin immunity protein (Pim) giving it a distinct advantage over pesticin. Furthermore, because FyuA is required for virulence and is more common in pathogenic bacteria, the hybrid toxin also has the advantage of targeting primarily disease-causing bacteria rather than indiscriminately eliminating natural gut flora.
Project description:In the billion years that bacteriophage (or phage) have existed together with bacteria the phage have evolved systems that may be exploited for our benefit. One of these is the lytic system used by the phage to release their progeny from an infected bacterium. Endolysins (or lysins) are highly evolved enzymes in the lytic system produced to cleave essential bonds in the bacterial cell wall peptidoglycan for progeny release. Small quantities of purified recombinant lysin added externally to gram-positive bacteria results in immediate lysis causing log-fold death of the target bacterium. Lysins have now been used successfully in a variety of animal models to control pathogenic antibiotic resistant bacteria found on mucosal surfaces and in infected tissues. The advantages over antibiotics are their specificity for the pathogen without disturbing the normal flora, the low chance of bacterial resistance, and their ability to kill colonizing pathogens on mucosal surfaces, a capacity previously unavailable. Lysins therefore, may be a much-needed anti-infective (or enzybiotic) in an age of mounting antibiotic resistance.
Project description:BACKGROUND:New strategies are urgently needed to deal with the growing problem of multidrug-resistant bacterial pathogens. As the natural viruses against bacteria, recently, bacteriophages have received particular attention. Here, we identified and characterized a novel peptidoglycan hydrolase named MMPphg by decoding the complete genome sequence of Meiothermus bacteriophage MMP17, which was isolated in Tengchong hot spring in China and contains a circular genome of 33,172?bp in size and a GC content of 63.4%. FINDINGS:We cloned the MMPphg gene, overproduced and purified the phage lytic protein, which contains a highly conserved M23 metallopeptidase domain and can be activated by Mg2+ and Zn2+. MMPphg is capable of withstanding temperatures up to 70?°C, and preserved more than 80% of its activity after a 30?min treatment between 35 and 65?°C. More interestingly, by disrupting bacterial cells, MMPphg exhibits surprising antimicrobial activity against both Gram-negative and Gram-positive pathogenic bacteria, especially antibiotic-resistant strains such as Escherichia coli O157, Staphylococcus aureus and Klebsiella pneumonia. CONCLUSIONS:In the current age of mounting antibiotic resistance, these results suggest the great potential of MMPphg, the gene product of bacteriophage MMP17, in combating bacterial infections and shed light on bacteriophage-based strategies to develop alternatives to conventional antibiotics for human or veterinary applications.
Project description:Bacteriophage-encoded endolysins degrading the bacterial peptidoglycan are promising antibacterials for combating antibiotic-resistant bacteria. However, endolysins have limited use against Gram-negative bacteria, since the outer membrane prevents access to the peptidoglycan. Here, we present Innolysins, an innovative concept for engineering endolysins to exert antibacterial activity against Gram-negative bacteria. Innolysins combine the enzymatic activity of endolysins with the binding capacity of phage receptor binding proteins (RBPs). As proof-of-concept, we constructed 12 Innolysins by fusing phage T5 endolysin and RBP Pb5 in different configurations. One of these, Innolysin Ec6 displayed antibacterial activity against Escherichia coli only in the presence of Pb5 receptor FhuA, leading to 1.22?±?0.12 log reduction in cell counts. Accordingly, other bacterial species carrying FhuA homologs such as Shigella sonnei and Pseudomonas aeruginosa were sensitive to Innolysin Ec6. To enhance the antibacterial activity, we further constructed 228 novel Innolysins by fusing 23 endolysins with Pb5. High-throughput screening allowed to select Innolysin Ec21 as the best antibacterial candidate, leading to 2.20?±?0.09 log reduction in E. coli counts. Interestingly, Innolysin Ec21 also displayed bactericidal activity against E. coli resistant to third-generation cephalosporins, reaching a 3.31?±?0.53 log reduction in cell counts. Overall, the Innolysin approach expands previous endolysin-engineering strategies, allowing customization of endolysins by exploiting phage RBPs to specifically target Gram-negative bacteria.
Project description:The pipeline of antibiotics has been for decades on an alarmingly low level. Considering the steadily emerging antibiotic resistance, novel tools are needed for early and easy identification of effective anti-infective compounds. In Gram-negative bacteria, the uptake of anti-infectives is especially limited. We here present a surprisingly simple <i>in vitro</i> model of the Gram-negative bacterial envelope, based on 20% (w/v) potato starch gel, printed on polycarbonate 96-well filter membranes. Rapid permeability measurements across this polysaccharide hydrogel allowed to correctly predict either high or low accumulation for all 16 tested anti-infectives in living <i>Escherichia coli</i>. Freeze-fracture TEM supports that the macromolecular network structure of the starch hydrogel may represent a useful surrogate of the Gram-negative bacterial envelope. A random forest analysis of <i>in vitro</i> data revealed molecular mass, minimum projection area, and rigidity as the most critical physicochemical parameters for hydrogel permeability, in agreement with reported structural features needed for uptake into Gram-negative bacteria. Correlating our dataset of 27 antibiotics from different structural classes to reported MIC values of nine clinically relevant pathogens allowed to distinguish active from nonactive compounds based on their low <i>in vitro</i> permeability specifically for Gram-negatives. The model may help to identify poorly permeable antimicrobial candidates before testing them on living bacteria.
Project description:The recent rise of multidrug-resistant Gram-negative bacteria represents a serious threat to public health and makes the search for novel effective alternatives to antibiotics a compelling need. Bacteriophage (Phage) lysins are enzymes that hydrolyze the cell wall of bacteria and represent a promising alternative to tackle this ever-increasing problem. Despite their use is believed to be restricted to Gram-positive bacteria, recent findings have shown that they can also be used against Gram-negative bacteria. By using a phage genome-based screening approach, we identified and characterized a novel lysin, PlyE146, encoded by an Escherichia coli prophage and with a predicted molecular mass of ca. 17 kDa. PlyE146 is composed of a C-terminal cationic peptide and a N-terminal N-acetylmuramidase domain. Histidine-tagged PlyE146 was overexpressed from a plasmid in Lactococcus lactis NZ9000 and purified by NI-NTA chromatography. PlyE146 exhibited in vitro optimal bactericidal activity against E. coli K12 (3.6 log10 CFU/mL decrease) after 2 h of incubation at 37°C at a concentration of 400 μg/mL in the absence of NaCl and at pH 6.0. Under these conditions, PlyE146 displayed antimicrobial activity towards several other E. coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa (3 to 3.8-log10 CFU/mL decrease) and Acinetobacter baumannii (4.9 to >5-log10 CFU/mL decrease) strains. Therefore, PlyE146 represents a promising therapeutic agent against E. coli, P. aeruginosa and A. baumannii infections. However, further studies are required to improve the efficacy of PlyE146 under physiological conditions.
Project description:A declining pipeline of clinically useful antibiotics has made it imperative to develop more effective antimicrobial therapies, particularly against difficult-to-treat Gram-negative pathogens. Silver has been used as an antimicrobial since antiquity, yet its mechanism of action remains unclear. We show that silver disrupts multiple bacterial cellular processes, including disulfide bond formation, metabolism, and iron homeostasis. These changes lead to increased production of reactive oxygen species and increased membrane permeability of Gram-negative bacteria that can potentiate the activity of a broad range of antibiotics against Gram-negative bacteria in different metabolic states, as well as restore antibiotic susceptibility to a resistant bacterial strain. We show both in vitro and in a mouse model of urinary tract infection that the ability of silver to induce oxidative stress can be harnessed to potentiate antibiotic activity. Additionally, we demonstrate in vitro and in two different mouse models of peritonitis that silver sensitizes Gram-negative bacteria to the Gram-positive-specific antibiotic vancomycin, thereby expanding the antibacterial spectrum of this drug. Finally, we used silver and antibiotic combinations in vitro to eradicate bacterial persister cells, and show both in vitro and in a mouse biofilm infection model that silver can enhance antibacterial action against bacteria that produce biofilms. This work shows that silver can be used to enhance the action of existing antibiotics against Gram-negative bacteria, thus strengthening the antibiotic arsenal for fighting bacterial infections.
Project description:Acinetobacter baumannii, a Gram-negative multidrug-resistant (MDR) bacterium, is now recognized as one of the more common nosocomial pathogens. Because most clinical isolates are found to be multidrug resistant, alternative therapies need to be developed to control this pathogen. We constructed a bacteriophage genomic library based on prophages induced from 13 A. baumannii strains and screened it for genes encoding bacteriolytic activity. Using this approach, we identified 21 distinct lysins with different activities and sequence diversity that were capable of killing A. baumannii. The lysin (PlyF307) displaying the greatest activity was further characterized and was shown to efficiently kill (>5-log-unit decrease) all tested A. baumannii clinical isolates. Treatment with PlyF307 was able to significantly reduce planktonic and biofilm A. baumannii both in vitro and in vivo. Finally, PlyF307 rescued mice from lethal A. baumannii bacteremia and as such represents the first highly active therapeutic lysin specific for Gram-negative organisms in an array of native lysins found in Acinetobacter phage.
Project description:The worldwide prevalence of infections caused by antibiotic-resistant Gram-negative bacteria poses a serious threat to public health due to the limited therapeutic alternatives. Cationic peptides represent a large family of antibiotics and have attracted interest due to their diverse chemical structures and potential for combating drug-resistant Gram-negative pathogens. Here, we analyze 7395 bacterial genomes to investigate their capacity for biosynthesis of cationic nonribosomal peptides with activity against Gram-negative bacteria. Applying this approach, we identify two novel compounds (brevicidine and laterocidine) showing bactericidal activities against antibiotic-resistant Gram-negative pathogens, such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa and colistin-resistant Escherichia coli, and an apparently low risk of resistance. The two peptides show efficacy against E. coli in a mouse thigh infection model. These findings may contribute to the discovery and development of Gram-negative antibiotics.
Project description:The growing problem of antibiotic resistance underlies the critical need to develop new treatments to prevent and control resistant bacterial infection. Exogenous application of bacteriophage lysins results in rapid and specific destruction of Gram-positive bacteria and therefore lysins represent novel antibacterial agents. The PlyC phage lysin is the most potent lysin characterized to date and can rapidly lyse Group A, C and E streptococci. Previously, we have determined the X-ray crystal structure of PlyC, revealing a complicated and unique arrangement of nine proteins. The scaffold features a multimeric cell-wall docking assembly bound to two catalytic domains that communicate and work synergistically. However, the crystal structure appeared to be auto-inhibited and raised important questions as to the mechanism underlying its extreme potency. Here we use small angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) and reveal that the conformational ensemble of PlyC in solution is different to that in the crystal structure. We also investigated the flexibility of the enzyme using both normal mode (NM) analysis and molecular dynamics (MD) simulations. Consistent with our SAXS data, MD simulations show rotational dynamics of both catalytic domains, and implicate inter-domain communication in achieving a substrate-ready conformation required for enzyme function. Our studies therefore provide insights into how the domains in the PlyC holoenzyme may act together to achieve its extraordinary potency.