Abstract: Vibrios are associated with a broad diversity of hosts that produce antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) as part of their defense against microbial infections. In particular, vibrios colonize epithelia, which function as protective barriers and express AMPs as a first line of chemical defense against pathogens. Recent studies have shown they can also colonize phagocytes, key components of the animal immune system. Phagocytes infiltrate infected tissues and use AMPs to kill the phagocytosed microorganisms intracellularly, or deliver their antimicrobial content extracellularly to circumvent tissue infection. We review here the mechanisms by which vibrios have evolved the capacity to evade or resist the potent antimicrobial defenses of the immune cells or tissues they colonize. Among their strategies to resist killing by AMPs, primarily vibrios use membrane remodeling mechanisms. In particular, some highly resistant strains substitute hexaacylated Lipid A with a diglycine residue to reduce their negative surface charge, thereby lowering their electrostatic interactions with cationic AMPs. As a response to envelope stress, which can be induced by membrane-active agents including AMPs, vibrios also release outer membrane vesicles to create a protective membranous shield that traps extracellular AMPs and prevents interaction of the peptides with their own membranes. Finally, once AMPs have breached the bacterial membrane barriers, vibrios use RND efflux pumps, similar to those of other species, to transport AMPs out of their cytoplasmic space.
Abstract: CXCL10 (IP-10) is a small 10 kDa chemokine with antimicrobial activity. It is induced by IFN-γ, chemoattracts mononuclear cells, and promotes adhesion of T cells. Recently, we detected CXCL10 on the surface of the skin and in the oral cavity. In the current study, we used broth microdilution and radial diffusion assays to show that CXCL10 inhibits the growth of Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus, Corynebacterium jeikeium, Corynebacterium striatum, and Candida albicans HMV4C, but not Corynebacterium bovis, Streptococcus mutans, Streptococcus mitis, Streptococcus sanguinis, Fusobacterium nucleatum, Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans, Poryphromonas gingivalis, or C. albicans ATCC 64124. The reason for the selective antimicrobial activity is not yet known. However, antimicrobial activity of CXCL10 may be related to its composition and structure, as a cationic 98 amino acid residue molecule with 10 lysine residues, 7 arginine residues, a total net charge of +11, and a theoretical pI of 9.93. Modeling studies revealed that CXCL10 contains an α-helix at the N-terminal, three anti-parallel β-strands in the middle, and an α-helix at the C-terminal. Thus, CXCL10, when produced on the surface of the skin or in the oral cavity, likely has antimicrobial activity and may enhance innate antimicrobial and cellular responses to the presence of select commensal or opportunistic microorganisms.
Abstract: Cystic fibrosis (CF) patients often acquire chronic respiratory tract infections due to Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Burkholderia cepacia complex (Bcc) species. In the CF lung, these bacteria grow as multicellular aggregates termed biofilms. Biofilms demonstrate increased (adaptive) resistance to conventional antibiotics, and there are currently no available biofilm-specific therapies. Using plastic adherent, hydroxyapatite and flow cell biofilm models coupled with confocal and scanning electron microscopy, it was demonstrated that an anti-biofilm peptide 1018 prevented biofilm formation, eradicated mature biofilms and killed biofilms formed by a wide range of P. aeruginosa and B. cenocepacia clinical isolates. New peptide derivatives were designed that, compared to their parent peptide 1018, showed similar or decreased anti-biofilm activity against P. aeruginosa biofilms, but increased activity against biofilms formed by the Gram-positive bacterium methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus. In addition, some of these new peptide derivatives retained the immunomodulatory activity of 1018 since they induced the production of the chemokine monocyte chemotactic protein-1 (MCP-1) and suppressed lipopolysaccharide-mediated tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) production by human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) and were non-toxic towards these cells. Peptide 1018 and its derivatives provide promising leads for the treatment of chronic biofilm infections and hyperinflammatory lung disease in CF patients.
Abstract: Small intestinal Paneth cells secrete a-defensin peptides, termed cryptdins (Crps) in mice, into the intestinal lumen, where they confer immunity to oral infections and define the composition of the ileal microbiota. In these studies, facultative bacteria maintained under aerobic or anaerobic conditions displayed differential sensitivities to mouse a-defensins under in vitro assay conditions. Regardless of oxygenation, Crps 2 and 3 had robust and similar bactericidal activities against S. typhimurium and S. flexneri, but Crp4 activity against S.flexneri was attenuated in the absence of oxygen. Anaerobic bacteria varied in their susceptibility to Crps 2-4, with Crp4 showing less activity than Crps 2 and 3 against Enterococcus faecalis, and Bacteroides fragilis in anaerobic assays, but Fusobacterium necrophorum was killed only by Crp4 and not by Crps 2 and 3. The influence of anaerobiosis in modulating Crp bactericidal activities in vitro suggests that a-defensin effects on the enteric microbiota may be subject to regulation by local oxygen tension.
Abstract: Antimicrobial peptides, or AMPs, play a significant role in many environments as a tool to remove competing organisms. In response, many bacteria have evolved mechanisms to resist these peptides and prevent AMP-mediated killing. The development of AMP resistance mechanisms is driven by direct competition between bacterial species, as well as host and pathogen interactions. Akin to the number of different AMPs found in nature, resistance mechanisms that have evolved are just as varied and may confer broad-range resistance or specific resistance to AMPs. Specific mechanisms of AMP resistance prevent AMP-mediated killing against a single type of AMP, while broad resistance mechanisms often lead to a global change in the bacterial cell surface and protect the bacterium from a large group of AMPs that have similar characteristics. AMP resistance mechanisms can be found in many species of bacteria and can provide a competitive edge against other bacterial species or a host immune response. Gram-positive bacteria are one of the largest AMP producing groups, but characterization of Gram-positive AMP resistance mechanisms lags behind that of Gram-negative species. In this review we present a summary of the AMP resistance mechanisms that have been identified and characterized in Gram-positive bacteria. Understanding the mechanisms of AMP resistance in Gram-positive species can provide guidelines in developing and applying AMPs as therapeutics, and offer insight into the role of resistance in bacterial pathogenesis.
Abstract: Inappropriate antibiotic use leads to increased risk of antibiotic resistance and other adverse outcomes. The objectives of the study were to determine the prevalence and characteristics of antibiotic use in Egyptian hospitals to identify opportunities for quality improvement. A point prevalence survey was conducted in 18 hospitals in March 2011. A total of 3408 patients were included and 59% received at least one antibiotic, with the most significant use among persons <12 years and intensive care unit patients (p < 0.05). Third generation cephalosporin were the most commonly prescribed antibiotics (28.7% of prescriptions). Reasons for antibiotic use included treatment of community—(27%) and healthcare-associated infections (11%) and surgical (39%) and medical (23%) prophylaxis. Among surgical prophylaxis recipients, only 28% of evaluable cases received the first dose within two hours before incision and only 25% of cases received surgical prophylaxis for <24 h. The prevalence of antibiotic use in Egyptian hospitals was high with obvious targets for antimicrobial stewardship activities including provision of antibiotic prescription guidelines and optimization of surgical and medical prophylaxis practices.