Resistome of Staphylococcus aureus in Response to Human Cathelicidin LL-37 and Its Engineered Antimicrobial Peptides.
ABSTRACT: Staphylococcus aureus is notoriously known for its rapid development of resistance to conventional antibiotics. S. aureus can alter its membrane composition to reduce the killing effect of antibiotics and antimicrobial peptides (AMPs). To obtain a more complete picture, this study identified the resistance genes of S. aureus in response to human cathelicidin LL-37 peptides by screening the Nebraska Transposon Mutant Library. In total, 24 resistant genes were identified. Among them, six mutants, including the one with the known membrane-modifying gene (mprF) disabled, became more membrane permeable to the LL-37 engineered peptide 17BIPHE2 than the wild type. Mass spectrometry analysis detected minimal lysyl-phosphatidylglycerol (lysylPG) from the mprF mutant of S. aureus JE2, confirming loss-of-function of this gene. Moreover, multiple mutants showed reduced surface adhesion and biofilm formation. In addition, four S. aureus mutants were unable to infect wax moth Galleria mellonella. There appears to be a connection between the ability of bacterial attachment/biofilm formation and infection. These results underscore the multiple functional roles of the identified peptide-response genes in bacterial growth, infection, and biofilm formation. Therefore, S. aureus utilizes a set of resistant genes to weave a complex molecular network to handle the danger posed by cationic LL-37. It appears that different genes are involved depending on the nature of antimicrobials. These resistant genes may offer a novel avenue to designing more potent antibiotics that target the Achilles heels of S. aureus USA300, a community-associated pathogen of great threat.
Project description:Staphylococcus aureus can live together in the form of biofilms to avoid elimination by the host. Thus, a useful strategy to counteract bacterial biofilms is to re-engineer human antimicrobial peptide LL-37 so that it can be used as a remedy for preventing and removing biofilms. This study reports antibiofilm effects of four human cathelicidin LL-37 peptides against community-associated and hospital isolated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) strains. Although the intact molecule LL-37 inhibited biofilm formation at low concentrations, it did not inhibit bacterial attachment nor disrupt preformed biofilms. However, two 17-residue peptides, GF-17 and 17BIPHE2, inhibited bacterial attachment, biofilm growth, and disrupted established biofilms. An inactive peptide RI-10 was used as a negative control. Our results obtained using the S. aureus mutants in a static biofilm model are consistent with the literature obtained in a flow cell biofilm model. Because 17BIPHE2 is the most effective biofilm disruptor with desired stability to proteases, it is a promising lead for developing new anti-MRSA biofilm agents.
Project description:Infections on implanted medical devices are a challenging problem, especially when bacteria form difficult-to-treat biofilms. Antimicrobial peptides are considered to be a solution due to their potency against antibiotic-resistant superbugs. Previously, the authors' laboratory demonstrated the prevention of staphylococcal biofilm formation in an animal catheter model by injecting merecidin (formerly known as 17BIPHE2), a peptide engineered based on the only human cathelicidin. This study documents an alternative solution via covalent immobilization of FK-16, amino acid sequence FKRIVQRIKDFLRNLV-amide, which corresponds to the major antimicrobial region (residues 17-32) of LL-37. FK-16 is superior to the longer peptide LL-37 in terms of synthesis cost and the shorter peptide KR-12 in terms of activity spectrum. Indeed, the FK16-coated titanium surface showed a broad-spectrum activity against the ESKAPE pathogens, including Enterococcus faecium, Staphylococcus aureus, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Acinetobacter baumannii, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Enterobacter species. It also demonstrated anti-adhesion and biofilm inhibition capabilities against both S. aureus and E. coli.
Project description:This Letter reports a family of novel antimicrobial compounds obtained by combining peptide library screening with structure-based design. Library screening led to the identification of a human LL-37 peptide resistant to chymotrypsin. This d-amino-acid-containing peptide template was active against Escherichia coli but not methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). It possesses a unique nonclassic amphipathic structure with hydrophobic defects. By repairing the hydrophobic defects, the peptide (17BIPHE2) gained activity against the ESKAPE pathogens, including Enterococcus faecium, S. aureus, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Acinetobacter baumanii, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Enterobacter species. In vitro, 17BIPHE2 could disrupt bacterial membranes and bind to DNA. In vivo, the peptide prevented staphylococcal biofilm formation in a mouse model of catheter-associated infection. Meanwhile, it boosted the innate immune response to further combat the infection. Because these peptides are potent, cell-selective, and stable to several proteases, they may be utilized to combat one or more ESKAPE pathogens.
Project description:<i>Pseudomonas aeruginosa</i> is involved in a variety of difficult-to-treat infections frequently due to biofilm formation. To identify useful antibiofilm strategies, this article evaluated efficacy of two newly engineered cationic antimicrobial peptides (17BIPHE2 and DASamP2), traditional antibiotics, and their combinations against biofilms at different stages. 17BIPHE2 is designed based on the 3D structure of human cathelicidin LL-37 and DASamP2 is derived from database screening. While both peptides show effects on bacterial adhesion, biofilm formation, and preformed biofilms, select antibiotics only inhibit biofilm formation, probably due to direct bacterial killing. In addition, the time dependence of biofilm formation and treatment in a static in vitro biofilm model was also studied. The initial bacterial inoculum determines the peptide concentration needed to inhibit biofilm growth. When the bacterial growth time is less than 8 h, the biomass in the wells can be dispersed by either antibiotics alone or peptides alone. However, nearly complete biofilm disruption can be achieved when both the peptide and antibiotics are applied. Our results emphasize the importance of antibiofilm peptides, early treatment using monotherapy, and the combination therapy for already formed biofilms of <i>P. aeruginosa</i>.
Project description:Our current challenge in the management of prosthetic joint infection is the eradication of biofilms which has driven the need for improved antimicrobial agents and regimens. In this study, the antimicrobial peptide, LL-37, and silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) were investigated for their antimicrobial efficacies against Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus), a microorganism commonly implicated in biofilm-related infections. These antimicrobials were compared to conventional antibiotics and combination treatments with rifampin. Using a Centers for Disease Control reactor, 24 h S. aureus biofilms were formed on cobalt-chromium discs and the anti-biofilm activity was determined by quantifying the amount of colony forming units following treatments. We found that LL-37 was the most efficacious antimicrobial agent with a more than 4 log reduction in colony counts. In comparison, silver nanoparticles and conventional antibiotics were not as efficacious, with a less than 1 log reduction in colony counts. Antimicrobial combination treatments with rifampin significantly increased the log reduction for AgNPs and gentamicin, although still significantly less than LL-37 in isolation. Furthermore, kinetic studies revealed the rapid elimination of S. aureus biofilm with LL-37. Collectively, the results of this study demonstrated that LL-37 was an effective agent against S. aureus biofilms and may have potential clinical applications in the eradication of biofilms and treatment of prosthetic joint infection.
Project description:Daptomycin-nonsusceptible (DAP-NS) <i>Staphylococcus aureus</i> often exhibits gain-in-function mutations in the <i>mprF</i> gene (involved in positive surface charge maintenance). Standard ?-lactams, although relatively inactive against methicillin-resistant <i>S. aureus</i> (MRSA), may prevent the emergence of <i>mprF</i> mutations and DAP-NS. We determined if ?-lactams might also impact DAP-NS isolates already possessing an <i>mprF</i> mutation to revert them to DAP-susceptible (DAP-S) phenotypes and, if so, whether this is associated with specific penicillin-binding protein (PBP) targeting. This study included 25 DAP-S/DAP-NS isogenic, clinically derived MRSA bloodstream isolates. MICs were performed for DAP, nafcillin (NAF; PBP-promiscuous), cloxacillin (LOX; PBP-1), ceftriaxone (CRO; PBP-2), and cefoxitin (FOX; PBP-4). Three DAP-NS isolates were selected for a 28-day serial passage in subinhibitory ?-lactams. DAP MICs and time-kill assays, host defense peptide (LL-37) susceptibilities, and whole-genome sequencing were performed to associate genetic changes with key phenotypic profiles. Pronounced decreases in baseline MICs were observed for NAF and LOX (but not for CRO or FOX) among DAP-NS versus DAP-S isolates ("seesaw" effect). Prolonged (28-d) ?-lactam passage of three DAP-NS isolates significantly reduced DAP MICs. LOX was most impactful (?16-fold decrease in DAP MIC; 2 to 0.125?mg/liter). In these DAP-NS isolates with preexisting <i>mprF</i> polymorphisms, accumulation of additional <i>mprF</i> mutations occurred with prolonged LOX exposures. This was associated with enhanced LL-37 killing activity and reduced surface charge (both <i>mprF</i>-dependent phenotypes). ?-lactams that either promiscuously or specifically target PBP-1 have significant DAP "resensitizing" effects against DAP-NS <i>S. aureus</i> strains. This may relate to the acquisition of multiple <i>mprF</i> single nucleotide polymorphism (SNPs), which, in turn, affect cell envelope function and metabolism.
Project description:Objectives:Staphylococcus aureus small colony variants (SCVs) cause persistent infections and are resistant to cationic antibiotics. Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) have been suggested as promising alternatives for treating antibiotic-resistant bacteria. We investigated the capacity of the human cationic AMP LL-37 to kill SCVs in the presence of physiological concentrations of bicarbonate, which are reported to alter bacterial membrane permeability and change resistance of bacteria to AMPs. Methods:MBCs of LL-37 for S. aureus SCVs with mutations in different genes in the presence and absence of bicarbonate were determined. Results:In the absence of bicarbonate, SCVs of S. aureus strains LS-1 and 8325-4 had the same level of resistance to LL-37 as the parental strain (8?mg/L). In the presence of bicarbonate, hemB, menD and aroD SCVs of LS-1 had high-level resistance to LL-37 (?128 mg/L) compared with the parental strain (16 mg/L). However, only the aroD SCV of strain 8324-5 showed high-level resistance. 8325-4 harbours mutations in two genes, tcaR and rsbU, which are involved in antimicrobial sensing and the stress response, respectively. When rsbU was repaired in 8325-4 it displayed high-level resistance to LL-37 in the presence of bicarbonate. This phenotype was lost when tcaR was also repaired, demonstrating that RsbU and TcaR are involved in LL-37 resistance in the presence of bicarbonate. Conclusions:S. aureus SCVs would be resistant to high concentrations of LL-37 in niches where there are physiological concentrations of bicarbonate and therefore this AMP may not be effective in combating SCVs.
Project description:Atopic dermatitis (AD) is a chronic inflammatory skin disease characterized by an impaired epidermal barrier, dysregulation of innate and adaptive immunity, and a high susceptibility to bacterial colonization and infection. In the present study, bacterial biofilm was visualized by electron microscopy at the surface of AD skin. Correspondingly, Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) isolates from lesional skin of patients with AD, produced a substantial amount of biofilm in vitro. S. aureus biofilms showed less susceptibility to killing by the antimicrobial peptide LL-37 when compared with results obtained using planktonic cells. Confocal microscopy analysis showed that LL-37 binds to the S. aureus biofilms. Immuno-gold staining of S. aureus biofilm of AD skin detected the S. aureus derived protease staphopain adjacent to the bacteria. In vitro, staphopain B degraded LL-37 into shorter peptide fragments. Further, LL-37 significantly inhibited S. aureus biofilm formation, but no such effects were observed for the degradation products. The data presented here provide novel information on staphopains present in S. aureus biofilms in vivo, and illustrate the complex interplay between biofilm and LL-37 in skin of AD patients, possibly leading to a disturbed host defense, which facilitates bacterial persistence.
Project description:Pathogenic bacteria have evolved numerous mechanisms to evade the human immune system and have developed widespread resistance to traditional antibiotics. We studied the human pathogen Neisseria meningitidis and present evidence of novel mechanisms of resistance to the human antimicrobial peptide LL-37. We found that bacteria attached to host epithelial cells are resistant to 10 microM LL-37 whereas bacteria in solution or attached to plastic are killed, indicating that the cell microenvironment protects bacteria. The bacterial endotoxin lipooligosaccharide and the polysaccharide capsule contribute to LL-37 resistance, probably by preventing LL-37 from reaching the bacterial membrane, as more LL-37 reaches the bacterial membrane on both lipooligosaccharide-deficient and capsule-deficient mutants whereas both mutants are also more susceptible to LL-37 killing than the wild-type strain. N. meningitidis bacteria respond to sublethal doses of LL-37 and upregulate two of their capsule genes, siaC and siaD, which further results in upregulation of capsule biosynthesis.
Project description:Antimicrobial peptides are essential components of innate immune systems that protect hosts from infection. They are also useful candidates for developing a new generation of antibiotics to fight antibiotic-resistant pathogens. Human innate immune peptide LL-37 can inhibit biofilm formation, but suffers from high cost due to a long peptide length and rapid protease degradation. To improve the peptide, we previously identified the major active region and changed the peptide backbone structure. This study designed two families of new peptides by altering peptide side chains. Interestingly, these peptides displayed differential potency against various ESKAPE pathogens in vitro and substantially reduced hemolysis. Further potency test in vivo revealed that 17tF-W eliminated the burden of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) USA300 in both mouse-embedded catheters and their surrounding tissues. In addition, peptide treatment suppressed the level of chemokine TNF?, and boosted the levels of chemokines MCP-1, IL-17A and IL-10 in the surrounding tissues of the infected catheter embedded in mice. In conclusion, we have designed a set of new LL-37 peptides with varying antimicrobial activities, opening the door to potential topical treatment of infections involving different drug-resistant pathogens.