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Open AccessArticle

Using Colistin as a Trojan Horse: Inactivation of Gram-Negative Bacteria with Chlorophyllin

1
Cell Biology Division, Department of Biology, Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Staudtstraße 5, 91058 Erlangen, Germany
2
Clinic for Plastic, Aesthetic and Hand Surgery, Otto von Guericke University Magdeburg, Leipziger Str. 44, 39120 Magdeburg, Germany
3
Microbiology Division, Department of Biology, Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Staudtstraße 5, 91058 Erlangen, Germany
4
Microbiological Diagnostics, Clinical Microbiology, Immunology and Hygiene, University Hospital Erlangen, Wasserturmstraße 3/5, 91054 Erlangen, Germany
5
Postgraduate Program in Health and Environment, University of Joinville Region, Rua Paulo Malschitzki, 10, Joinville 89219-710, Brazil
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Antibiotics 2019, 8(4), 158; https://doi.org/10.3390/antibiotics8040158
Received: 15 July 2019 / Revised: 15 September 2019 / Accepted: 17 September 2019 / Published: 20 September 2019
Colistin (polymyxin E) is a membrane-destabilizing antibiotic used against Gram-negative bacteria. We have recently reported that the outer membrane prevents the uptake of antibacterial chlorophyllin into Gram-negative cells. In this study, we used sub-toxic concentrations of colistin to weaken this barrier for a combination treatment of Escherichia coli and Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium with chlorophyllin. In the presence of 0.25 µg/mL colistin, chlorophyllin was able to inactivate both bacteria strains at concentrations of 5–10 mg/L for E. coli and 0.5–1 mg/L for S. Typhimurium, which showed a higher overall susceptibility to chlorophyllin treatment. In accordance with a previous study, chlorophyllin has proven antibacterial activity both as a photosensitizer, illuminated with 12 mW/cm2, and in darkness. Our data clearly confirmed the relevance of the outer membrane in protection against xenobiotics. Combination treatment with colistin broadens chlorophyllin’s application spectrum against Gram-negatives and gives rise to the assumption that chlorophyllin together with cell membrane-destabilizing substances may become a promising approach in bacteria control. Furthermore, we demonstrated that colistin acts as a door opener even for the photodynamic inactivation of colistin-resistant (mcr-1-positive) E. coli cells by chlorophyllin, which could help us to overcome this antimicrobial resistance. View Full-Text
Keywords: chlorophyll; bacteria; photosensitization; combination therapy; antibiotic resistance; mcr-1 chlorophyll; bacteria; photosensitization; combination therapy; antibiotic resistance; mcr-1
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Richter, P.; Krüger, M.; Prasad, B.; Gastiger, S.; Bodenschatz, M.; Wieder, F.; Burkovski, A.; Geißdörfer, W.; Lebert, M.; Strauch, S.M. Using Colistin as a Trojan Horse: Inactivation of Gram-Negative Bacteria with Chlorophyllin. Antibiotics 2019, 8, 158.

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