Abstract: Host defense peptides (HDPs) are currently major focal points of medical research as infectious microbes are gaining resistance to existing drugs. They are effective against multi-drug resistant pathogens due to their unique primary target, biological membranes, and their peculiar mode of action. Even though HDPs from 60 Asian frog species belonging to 15 genera have been characterized, research into these peptides is at a very early stage. The purpose of this review is to showcase the status of peptide research in Asia. Here we provide a summary of HDPs from Asian frogs.
Abstract: Crystallization of integral membrane proteins is a challenging field and much effort has been invested in optimizing the overexpression and purification steps needed to obtain milligram amounts of pure, stable, monodisperse protein sample for crystallography studies. Our current work involves the structural and functional characterization of the Escherichia coli multidrug resistance transporter MdtM, a member of the major facilitator superfamily (MFS). Here we present a protocol for isolation of MdtM to increase yields of recombinant protein to the milligram quantities necessary for pursuit of structural studies using X-ray crystallography. Purification of MdtM was enhanced by introduction of an elongated His-tag, followed by identification and subsequent removal of chaperonin contamination. For crystallization trials of MdtM, detergent screening using size exclusion chromatography determined that decylmaltoside (DM) was the shortest-chain detergent that maintained the protein in a stable, monodispersed state. Crystallization trials of MdtM performed using the hanging-drop diffusion method with commercially available crystallization screens yielded 3D protein crystals under several different conditions. We contend that the purification protocol described here may be employed for production of high-quality protein of other multidrug efflux members of the MFS, a ubiquitous, physiologically and clinically important class of membrane transporters.
Abstract: Complete genome comparisons, transcriptomic and metabolomic studies were performed on two laboratory-selected, well-characterized vancomycin-intermediate Staphylococcus aureus (VISA) derived from the same parent MRSA that have changes in cell wall composition and decreased autolysis. A variety of mutations were found in the VISA, with more in strain 13136p−m+V20 (vancomycin MIC = 16 µg/mL) than strain 13136p−m+V5 (MIC = 8 µg/mL). Most of the mutations have not previously been associated with the VISA phenotype; some were associated with cell wall metabolism and many with stress responses, notably relating to DNA damage. The genomes and transcriptomes of the two VISA support the importance of gene expression regulation to the VISA phenotype. Similarities in overall transcriptomic and metabolomic data indicated that the VISA physiologic state includes elements of the stringent response, such as downregulation of protein and nucleotide synthesis, the pentose phosphate pathway and nutrient transport systems. Gene expression for secreted virulence determinants was generally downregulated, but was more variable for surface-associated virulence determinants, although capsule formation was clearly inhibited. The importance of activated stress response elements could be seen across all three analyses, as in the accumulation of osmoprotectant metabolites such as proline and glutamate. Concentrations of potential cell wall precursor amino acids and glucosamine were increased in the VISA strains. Polyamines were decreased in the VISA, which may facilitate the accrual of mutations. Overall, the studies confirm the wide variability in mutations and gene expression patterns that can lead to the VISA phenotype.
Abstract: Cystic Fibrosis (CF) is the most common fatal monogenic disease among Caucasians. While CF affects multiple organ systems, the principle morbidity arises from progressive destruction of lung architecture due to chronic bacterial infection and inflammation. It is characterized by an innate immune defect that results in colonization of the airways with bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa from an early age. Within the airway microenvironment the innate immune cells including epithelial cells, neutrophils, and macrophages have all been implicated in the host defense defect. The neutrophil, however, is the principal effector cell facilitating bacterial killing, but also participates in lung damage. This is evidenced by a disproportionately elevated neutrophil burden in the airways and increased neutrophil products capable of tissue degradation, such as neutrophil elastase. The CF airways also contain an abundance of nuclear material that may be originating from neutrophils. Neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) are the product of a novel neutrophil death process that involves the expulsion of nuclear material embedded with histones, proteases, and antimicrobial proteins and peptides. NETs have been postulated to contribute to the bacterial killing capacity of neutrophils, however they also function as a source of proteases and other neutrophil products that may contribute to lung injury. Targeting nuclear material with inhaled DNase therapy improves lung function and reduces exacerbations in CF and some of these effects may be due to the degradation of NETs. We critically discuss the evidence for an antimicrobial function of NETs and their potential to cause lung damage and inflammation. We propose that CF animal models that recapitulate the human CF phenotype such as the CFTR−/− pig may be useful in further elucidating a role for NETs.
Abstract: The emergence of antibiotic resistance seriously threatens our ability to treat many common and medically important bacterial infections. Novel therapeutics are needed that can be used alone or in conjunction with antibiotics. Cationic antimicrobial peptides (CAMPs) are important effectors of the host innate defense that exhibit broad-spectrum activity against a wide range of microorganisms. CAMPs are carried within phagocytic granules and are constitutively or inducibly expressed by multiple cell types, including epithelial cells. The role of histone modification enzymes, specifically the histone deacetylases (HDAC), in down-regulating the transcription of CAMP-encoding genes is increasingly appreciated as is the capacity of HDAC inhibitors (HDACi) to block the action of HDACs to increase CAMP expression. The use of synthetic and natural HDACi molecules to increase CAMPs on mucosal surfaces, therefore, has potential therapeutic applications. Here, we review host and pathogen regulation of CAMP expression through the induction of HDACs and assess the therapeutic potential of natural and synthetic HDACi based on evidence from tissue culture systems, animal models, and clinical trials.