Lantibiotics are post-translationally modified antimicrobial peptides, of which nisin A is the most extensively studied example. Bioengineering of nisin A has resulted in the generation of derivatives with increased in vitro potency against Gram-positive bacteria. Of these, nisin V (containing a Met21Val change) is noteworthy by virtue of exhibiting enhanced antimicrobial efficacy against a wide range of clinical and food-borne pathogens, including Listeria monocytogenes. However, this increased potency has not been tested in vivo.
Here we address this issue by assessing the ability of nisin A and nisin V to control a bioluminescent strain of Listeria monocytogenes EGDe in a murine infection model.
More specifically, Balb/c mice were infected via the intraperitoneal route at a dose of 1 × 105 cfu/animal and subsequently treated intraperitoneally with either nisin V, nisin A or a PBS control. Bioimaging of the mice was carried out on day 3 of the trial. Animals were then sacrificed and levels of infection were quantified in the liver and spleen.
This analysis revealed that nisin V was more effective than Nisin A with respect to controlling infection and therefore merits further investigation with a view to potential chemotherapeutic applications.
Antimicrobial; Lantibiotic; Bacteriocin; Peptide engineering; Mutagenesis; Nisin
Lantibiotics, such as nisin and subtilin, are lanthionine-containing peptides that exhibit antimicrobial as well as pheromone-like autoinducing activity. Autoinduction is specific for each lantibiotic, and reporter systems for nisin and subtilin autoinduction are available. In this report, we used the previously reported subtilin autoinduction bioassay in combination with mass spectrometric analyses to identify the novel subtilin-like lantibiotic entianin from Bacillus subtilis subsp. spizizenii DSM 15029T. Linearization of entianin using Raney nickel-catalyzed reductive cleavage enabled, for the first time, the use of tandem mass spectrometry for the fast and efficient determination of an entire lantibiotic primary structure, including posttranslational modifications. The amino acid sequence determined was verified by DNA sequencing of the etnS structural gene, which confirmed that entianin differs from subtilin at 3 amino acid positions. In contrast to B. subtilis ATCC 6633, which produces only small amounts of unsuccinylated subtilin, B. subtilis DSM 15029T secretes considerable amounts of unsuccinylated entianin. Entianin was very active against several Gram-positive pathogens, such as Staphylococcus aureus and Enterococcus faecalis. The growth-inhibiting activity of succinylated entianin (S-entianin) was much lower than that of unsuccinylated entianin: a 40-fold higher concentration was required for inhibition. For succinylated subtilin (S-subtilin), a concentration 100-fold higher than that of unsuccinylated entianin was required to inhibit the growth of a B. subtilis test strain. This finding was in accordance with a strongly reduced sensing of cellular envelope stress provided by S-entianin relative to that of entianin. Remarkably, S-entianin and S-subtilin showed considerable autoinduction activity, clearly demonstrating that autoinduction and antibiotic activity underlie different molecular mechanisms.
It is becoming increasingly apparent that innovations from the “golden age” of antibiotics are becoming ineffective, resulting in a pressing need for novel therapeutics. The bacteriocin family of antimicrobial peptides has attracted much attention in recent years as a source of potential alternatives. The most intensively studied bacteriocin is nisin, a broad spectrum lantibiotic that inhibits Gram-positive bacteria including important food pathogens and clinically relevant antibiotic resistant bacteria. Nisin is gene-encoded and, as such, is amenable to peptide bioengineering, facilitating the generation of novel derivatives that can be screened for desirable properties. It was to this end that we used a site-saturation mutagenesis approach to create a bank of producers of nisin A derivatives that differ with respect to the identity of residue 12 (normally lysine; K12). A number of these producers exhibited enhanced bioactivity and the nisin A K12A producer was deemed of greatest interest. Subsequent investigations with the purified antimicrobial highlighted the enhanced specific activity of this modified nisin against representative target strains from the genera Streptococcus, Bacillus, Lactococcus, Enterococcus and Staphylococcus.
Streptococcus uberis is one of the principal causative agents of bovine mastitis. In this study, we report that S. uberis strain 42 produces a lantibiotic, nisin U, which is 78% identical (82% similar) to nisin A from Lactococcus lactis. The 15.6-kb nisin U locus comprises 11 open reading frames, similar in putative functionality but differing in arrangement from that of the nisin A biosynthetic cluster. The nisin U producer strain exhibits specific resistance (immunity) to nisin U and cross-resistance to nisin A, a finding consistent with the 55% sequence similarity of their respective immunity peptides. Homologues of the nisin U structural gene were identified in several additional S. uberis strains, and in each case cross-protective immunity was expressed to nisin A and to the other producers of nisin U and its variants. To our knowledge, this is the first report both of characterization of a bacteriocin by S. uberis, as well as of a member of the nisin family of peptides in a species other than L. lactis.
Recent studies showed that the nisin modification machinery can successfully dehydrate serines and threonines and introduce lanthionine rings in small peptides that are fused to the nisin leader sequence. This opens up exciting possibilities to produce and engineer larger antimicrobial peptides in vivo. Here we demonstrate the exploitation of the class I nisin production machinery to generate, modify, and secrete biologically active, previously not-yet-isolated and -characterized class II two-component lantibiotics that have no sequence homology to nisin. The nisin synthesis machinery, composed of the modification enzymes NisB and NisC and the transporter NisT, was used to modify and secrete a putative two-component lantibiotic of Streptococcus pneumoniae. This was achieved by genetically fusing the propeptide-encoding sequences of the spr1765 (pneA1) and spr1766 (pneA2) genes to the nisin leader-encoding sequence. The chimeric prepeptides were secreted out of Lactococcus lactis, purified by cation exchange fast protein liquid chromatography, and further characterized. Mass spectrometry analyses demonstrated the presence and partial localization of multiple dehydrated serines and/or threonines and (methyl)lanthionines in both peptides. Moreover, after cleavage of the leader peptide from the prepeptides, both modified propeptides displayed antimicrobial activity against Micrococcus flavus. These results demonstrate that the nisin synthetase machinery can be successfully used to modify and produce otherwise difficult to obtain antimicrobially active lantibiotics.
The peptide antibiotic nisin A belongs to the group of antibiotics called lantibiotics. They are classified as lantibiotics because they contain the structural group lanthionine. Lanthionines are composed of a single sulfur atom that is linked to the β-carbons of two alanine moieties. These sulfur atoms are vulnerable to environmental oxidation. A mild oxidation reaction was performed on nisin A to determine the relative effects it would have on bioactivity. High-mass-accuracy Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometry data revealed the addition of seven, eight, and nine oxygens. These additions correspond to the five lanthionines, two methionines, and two histidines that would be susceptible to oxidation. Subsequent bioassays revealed that the oxidized form of nisin A had a complete loss of bactericidal activity. In a competition study, the oxidized nisin did not appear to have an antagonistic affect on the bioactivity of nisin A, since the addition of an equal molar concentration of the oxidized variant did not have an influence on the bactericidal activity of the native antibiotic. Electron microscopy data revealed that the oxidized forms were still capable of assembling into large circular complexes, demonstrating that oxidation does not disrupt the lateral assembly mechanism of the antibiotic. Affinity thin-layer chromatography and fluorescence microscopy experiments suggested that the loss of activity is due to the inability of the oxidized form of nisin to bind to the cell wall precursor lipid II. Given the loss of bioactivity following oxidation, oxidation should be an important factor to consider in future production, purification, pharmacokinetic, and pharmacodynamic studies.
Nisin is a bacteriocin widely utilized in more than 50 countries as a safe and natural antibacterial food preservative. It is the most extensively studied bacteriocin, having undergone decades of bioengineering with a view to improving function and physicochemical properties. The discovery of novel nisin variants with enhanced activity against clinical and foodborne pathogens has recently been described. We screened a randomized bank of nisin A producers and identified a variant with a serine to glycine change at position 29 (S29G), with enhanced efficacy against S. aureus SA113. Using a site-saturation mutagenesis approach we generated three more derivatives (S29A, S29D and S29E) with enhanced activity against a range of Gram positive drug resistant clinical, veterinary and food pathogens. In addition, a number of the nisin S29 derivatives displayed superior antimicrobial activity to nisin A when assessed against a range of Gram negative food-associated pathogens, including E. coli, Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium and Cronobacter sakazakii. This is the first report of derivatives of nisin, or indeed any lantibiotic, with enhanced antimicrobial activity against both Gram positive and Gram negative bacteria.
The activity of lanthionine-containing peptide antibiotics (lantibiotics) is based on different killing mechanisms which may be combined in one molecule. The prototype lantibiotic nisin inhibits peptidoglycan synthesis and forms pores through specific interaction with the cell wall precursor lipid II. Gallidermin and epidermin possess the same putative lipid II binding motif as nisin; however, both peptides are considerably shorter (22 amino acids, compared to 34 in nisin). We demonstrate that in model membranes, lipid II-mediated pore formation by gallidermin depends on membrane thickness. With intact cells, pore formation was less pronounced than for nisin and occurred only in some strains. In Lactococcus lactis subsp. cremoris HP, gallidermin was not able to release K+, and a mutant peptide, [A12L]gallidermin, in which the ability to form pores was disrupted, was as potent as wild-type gallidermin, indicating that pore formation does not contribute to killing. In contrast, nisin rapidly formed pores in the L. lactis strain; however, it was approximately 10-fold less effective in killing. The superior activity of gallidermin in a cell wall biosynthesis assay may help to explain this high potency. Generally, it appears that the multiple activities of lantibiotics combine differently for individual target strains.
Two natural variants of the lantibiotic nisin that are produced by Lactococcus lactis are known. They have a similar structure but differ in a single amino acid residue at position 27; histidine in nisin A and asparagine in nisin Z (J.W.M. Mulders, I.J. Boerrigter, H.S. Rollema, R.J. Siezen, and W.M. de Vos, Eur. J. Biochem, 201:581-584, 1991). The nisin variants were purified to apparent homogeneity, and their biological activities were compared. Identical MICs of nisin A and nisin Z were found with all tested indicator strains of six different species of gram-positive bacteria. However, at concentrations above the MICs, with nisin Z the inhibition zones obtained in agar diffusion assays were invariably larger than those obtained with nisin A. This was observed with all tested indicator strains. These results suggest that nisin Z has better diffusion properties than nisin A in agar. The distribution of the nisin variants in various lactococcal strains was determined by amplification of the nisin structural gene by polymerase chain reaction followed by direct sequencing of the amplification product. In this way, it was established that the nisZ gene for nisin Z production is widely distributed, having been found in 14 of the 26 L. lactis strains analyzed.
To control the pH during antimicrobial peptide (nisin) production by a lactic acid bacterium, Lactococcus lactis subsp. lactis (ATCC11454), a novel method involving neither addition of alkali nor a separation system such as a ceramic membrane filter and electrodialyzer was developed. A mixed culture of L. lactis and Kluyveromyces marxianus, which was isolated from kefir grains, was utilized in the developed system. The interaction between lactate production by L. lactis and its assimilation by K. marxianus was used to control the pH. To utilize the interaction of these microorganisms to maintain high-level production of nisin, the kinetics of growth of, and production of lactate, acetate, and nisin by, L. lactis were investigated. The kinetics of growth of and lactic acid consumption by K. marxianus were also investigated. Because the pH of the medium could be controlled by the lactate consumption of K. marxianus and the specific lactate consumption rate of K. marxianus could be controlled by changing the dissolved oxygen (DO) concentration, a cascade pH controller coupled with DO control was developed. As a result, the pH was kept constant because the lactate level was kept low and nisin accumulated in the medium to a high level compared with that attained using other pH control strategies, such as with processes lacking pH control and those in which pH is controlled by addition of alkali.
Nisin A is a pentacyclic antibiotic peptide produced by various Lactococcus lactis strains. Nisin displays four different activities: (i) it autoinduces its own synthesis; (ii) it inhibits the growth of target bacteria by membrane pore formation; (iii) it inhibits bacterial growth by interfering with cell wall synthesis; and, in addition, (iv) it inhibits the outgrowth of spores. Here we investigate the structural requirements and relevance of the N-terminal thioether rings of nisin by randomization of the ring A and B positions. The data demonstrate that: (i) mutation of ring A results in variants with enhanced activity and a modulated spectrum of target cells; (ii) for the cell growth-inhibiting activity of nisin, ring A is rather promiscuous with respect to its amino acid composition, whereas the bulky amino acid residues in ring B abolish antimicrobial activity; (iii) C-terminally truncated nisin A mutants lacking rings D and E retain significant antimicrobial activity but are unable to permeabilize the target membrane; (iv) the dehydroalanine in ring A is not essential for the inhibition of the outgrowth of Bacillus cells; (v) some ring A mutants have significant antimicrobial activities but have decreased autoinducing activities; (vi) the opening of ring B eliminates antimicrobial activity while retaining autoinducing activity; and (vii) some ring A mutants escape the nisin immune system(s) and are toxic to the nisin-producing strain NZ9700. These data demonstrate that the various activities of nisin can be engineered independently and provide a basis for the design and synthesis of tailor-made analogs with desired activities.
Nisin is a 3.4-kDa antimicrobial peptide that, as a result of posttranslational modifications, contains unsaturated amino acids and lanthionine residues. It is applied as a preservative in various food products. The solubility and stability of nisin and nisin mutants have been studied. It is demonstrated that nisin mutants can be produced with improved functional properties. The solubility of nisin A is highest at low pH values and gradually decreases by almost 2 orders of magnitude when the pH of the solution exceeds a value of 7. At low pH, nisin Z exhibits a decreased solubility relative to that of nisin A; at neutral and higher pH values, the solubilities of both variants are comparable. Two mutants of nisin Z, which contain lysyl residues at positions 27 and 31, respectively, instead of Asn-27 and His-31, were produced with the aim of reaching higher solubility at neutral pH. Both mutants were purified to homogeneity, and their structures were confirmed by one- and two-dimensional 1H nuclear magnetic resonance. Their antimicrobial activities were found to be similar to that of nisin Z, whereas their solubilities at pH 7 increased by factors of 4 and 7, respectively. The chemical stability of nisin A was studied in the pH range of 2 to 8 and at a 20, 37, and 75 degrees C. Optimal stability was observed at pH 3.0. Nisin Z showed a behavior similar to that of nisin A. A mutant containing dehydrobutyrine at position 5 instead of dehydroalanine had lower activity but was significantly more resistant to acid-catalyzed chemical degradation than wild-type nisin Z.
Mersacidin, gallidermin, and nisin are lantibiotics, antimicrobial peptides containing lanthionine. They show potent antibacterial activity. All three interfere with cell wall biosynthesis by binding lipid II, but they display different levels of interaction with the cytoplasmic membrane. On one end of the spectrum, mersacidin interferes with cell wall biosynthesis by binding lipid II without integrating into bacterial membranes. On the other end of the spectrum, nisin readily integrates into membranes, where it forms large pores. It destroys the membrane potential and causes leakage of nutrients and ions. Gallidermin, in an intermediate position, also readily integrates into membranes. However, pore formation occurs only in some bacteria and depends on membrane composition. In this study, we investigated the impact of nisin, gallidermin, and mersacidin on cell wall integrity, membrane pore formation, and membrane depolarization in Bacillus subtilis. The impact of the lantibiotics on the cell envelope was correlated to the proteomic response they elicit in B. subtilis. By drawing on a proteomic response library, including other envelope-targeting antibiotics such as bacitracin, vancomycin, gramicidin S, or valinomycin, YtrE could be identified as the most reliable marker protein for interfering with membrane-bound steps of cell wall biosynthesis. NadE and PspA were identified as markers for antibiotics interacting with the cytoplasmic membrane.
Nisin is the most prominent and applied bacteriocin that serves as a model for class I lantibiotics. The nisin leader peptide importantly determines interactions between precursor nisin and its modification enzymes NisB and NisC that mature nisin posttranslationally. NisB dehydrates serines and threonines, while NisC catalyzes the subsequent coupling of the formed dehydroamino acids to form lanthionines. Currently, little is known about how the nisin leader interacts with NisB and even less is known about its interactions with NisC. To investigate the nisin leader peptide requirements for functional interaction with the modification enzymes NisB and NisC, we systematically replaced six regions, of 2–4 amino acids each, with all-alanine regions. By performing NisB and NisC co-purification studies with these mutant leader peptides, we demonstrate that the nisin leader regions STKD(-22-19), FNLD(-18-15) and PR(-2-1) importantly contribute to the interactions of precursor nisin with both NisB and NisC, whereas the nisin leader region LVSV(-14-11) additionally contributes to the interaction of precursor nisin with NisC.
•Not all nisin leader regions are crucial for the interactions with modifying enzymes.•The leader region STKD(-22-19) is important for the interactions with NisB and NisC.•The nisin leader region FNLD(-18-15) is important for the interactions with NisB and NisC.•The nisin leader region PR(-2-1) is important for the interactions with NisB and NisC.•The leader region LVSV(-14-11) is additionally important for the interactions with NisC.
Nisin; Leader peptide; NisC cyclase; NisB dehydratase; Lantibiotic; Dehydration; Dehydroalanine; Dehydrobutyrine
Nisin is a class I bacteriocin (lantibiotic), which is employed by the food and veterinary industries and exhibits potent activity against numerous pathogens. However, this activity could be further improved through the targeting and inhibition of factors that contribute to innate nisin resistance. Here we describe a novel locus, lmo1967, which is required for optimal nisin resistance in Listeria monocytogenes. The importance of this locus, which is a homologue of the tellurite resistance gene telA, was revealed after the screening of a mariner random mutant bank of L. monocytogenes for nisin-susceptible mutants. The involvement of telA in nisin resistance was confirmed through an analysis of a nonpolar deletion mutant. In addition to being 4-fold-more susceptible to nisin, the ΔtelA strain was also 8-fold-more susceptible to gallidermin and 2-fold-more susceptible to cefuroxime, cefotaxime, bacitracin, and tellurite. This is the first occasion upon which telA has been investigated in a Gram-positive organism and also represents the first example of a link being established between a telA gene and resistance to cell envelope-acting antimicrobials.
Nisin Z, a natural nisin variant, was recently isolated from Lactococcus lactis subspecies lactis NIZO 22186. The gene for this lantibiotic, designated nisZ, has been cloned, and its nucleotide sequence was found to be identical to that of the precursor nisin gene with the exception of a single mutation resulting in the substitution of Asn-27 for His-27 in the mature polypeptide (J. W. M. Mulders, I. J. Boerrigter, H. S. Rollema, R. J. Siezen, and W. M. de Vos, Eur. J. Biochem. 201:581-584, 1991). A K+ electrode was used to investigate the effect of various environmental parameters on the action of nisin Z against Listeria monocytogenes. Addition of nisin Z resulted in immediate loss of cell K+, depolarization of the cytoplasmic membrane, inhibition of respiratory activity, and hydrolysis and partial efflux of cellular ATP. The action of nisin Z was optimal at pH 6.0 and was significantly reduced by di- and trivalent cations. The lanthanide gadolinium (Gd3+) was an efficient inhibitor and prevented nisin Z activity completely at a concentration of 0.2 mM. Nisin Z-induced loss of cell K+ was reduced at low temperatures, presumably as a result of the increased ordering of the lipid hydrocarbon chains in the cytoplasmic membrane. In cells grown at 30°C, the action of nisin Z was prevented below 7°C, whereas in cells grown at 4°C nisin Z was able to induce K+ leakage at this low temperature.
Peptide antibiotics, particularly lantibiotics, are good candidates for replacing antibiotics to which bacteria have become resistant. In order to compare two such lantibiotics with two antibiotics, the MICs of nisin A, mutacin B-Ny266, vancomycin, and oxacillin against various bacterial pathogens were determined. The results indicate that nisin A and mutacin B-Ny266 are as active as vancomycin and oxacillin against most of the strains tested. Furthermore, mutacin B-Ny266 remains active against strains that are resistant to nisin A, oxacillin, or vancomycin. The wide spectrum of activity of mutacin B-Ny266, its low MICs against bacterial pathogens, and its activity against bacteria resistant to other inhibitors support the development of this substance for therapeutic use.
Lantibiotics are antimicrobial peptides produced by Gram-positive bacteria, nisin being the most well-known member. Nisin inhibits peptidoglycan synthesis and forms pores at sensitive membranes upon interaction with lipid II, the essential bacterial cell wall precursor. Bovicin HC5, a bacteriocin produced by Streptococcus bovis HC5, has the putative N-terminal lipid II binding motif, and we investigated the mode of action of bovicin HC5 using both living bacteria and model membranes, with special emphasis on the role of lipid II. Bovicin HC5 showed activity against Staphylococcus cohnii and Staphylococcus warneri, but bovicin HC5 hardly interfered with the membrane potential of S. cohnii. In model membranes, bovicin HC5 was not able to cause carboxyfluorescein release or proton influx from DOPC vesicles containing lipid II. Bovicin HC5 blocked lipid II-dependent pore formation activity of nisin, and a high-affinity interaction with lipid II was observed (apparent binding constant [Ka] = 3.1 × 106 M−1), with a 1:1 stoichiometry. In DOPC vesicles containing lipid II, bovicin HC5 was able to assemble with lipid II into a prepore-like structure. Furthermore, we observed pore formation activity of bovicin HC5, which was stimulated by the presence of lipid II, in thin membranes. Moreover, bovicin HC5 induced the segregation of lipid II into domains in giant model membrane vesicles. In conclusion, bovicin HC5 has a primary mode of action similar to that of nisin, but some differences regarding the pore-forming capacity were demonstrated.
This study investigated both the activity of nisin Z, either encapsulated in liposomes or produced in situ by a mixed starter, against Listeria innocua, Lactococcus spp., and Lactobacillus casei subsp. casei and the distribution of nisin Z in a Cheddar cheese matrix. Nisin Z molecules were visualized using gold-labeled anti-nisin Z monoclonal antibodies and transmission electron microscopy (immune-TEM). Experimental Cheddar cheeses were made using a nisinogenic mixed starter culture, containing Lactococcus lactis subsp. lactis biovar diacetylactis UL 719 as the nisin producer and two nisin-tolerant lactococcal strains and L. casei subsp. casei as secondary flora, and ripened at 7°C for 6 months. In some trials, L. innocua was added to cheese milk at 105 to 106 CFU/ml. In 6-month-old cheeses, 90% of the initial activity of encapsulated nisin (280 ± 14 IU/g) was recovered, in contrast to only 12% for initial nisin activity produced in situ by the nisinogenic starter (300 ± 15 IU/g). During ripening, immune-TEM observations showed that encapsulated nisin was located mainly at the fat/casein interface and/or embedded in whey pockets while nisin produced by biovar diacetylactis UL 719 was uniformly distributed in the fresh cheese matrix but concentrated in the fat area as the cheeses aged. Cell membrane in lactococci appeared to be the main nisin target, while in L. casei subsp. casei and L. innocua, nisin was more commonly observed in the cytoplasm. Cell wall disruption and digestion and lysis vesicle formation were common observations among strains exposed to nisin. Immune-TEM observations suggest several modes of action for nisin Z, which may be genus and/or species specific and may include intracellular target-specific activity. It was concluded that nisin-containing liposomes can provide a powerful tool to improve nisin stability and availability in the cheese matrix.
Certain strains of Lactococcus lactis produce the broad-spectrum bacteriocin nisin, which belongs to the lantibiotic class of antimicrobial peptides. The genes encoding nisin are organized in three contiguous operons: nisABTCIP, encoding production and immunity (nisI); nisRK, encoding regulation; and nisFEG, also involved in immunity. Transcription of nisABTCIP and nisFEG requires autoinduction by external nisin via signal transducing by NisRK. This organization poses the intriguing question of how sufficient immunity (NisI) can be expressed when the nisin cluster enters a new cell, before it encounters external nisin. In this study, Northern analysis in both Lactococcus and Enterococcus backgrounds revealed that nisI mRNA was present under conditions when no nisA transcription was occurring, suggesting an internal promoter within the operon. The nisA transcript was significantly more stable than nisI, further substantiating this. Reverse transcriptase PCR analysis revealed that the transcription initiated just upstream from nisI. Fusing this region to a lacZ gene in a promoter probe vector demonstrated that a promoter was present. The transcription start site (TSS) of the nisI promoter was mapped at bp 123 upstream of the nisI translation start codon. Ordered 5′ deletions revealed that transcription activation depended on sequences located up to bp −234 from the TSS. The presence of poly(A) tracts and computerized predictions for this region suggested that a high degree of curvature may be required for transcription initiation. The existence of this nisI promoter is likely an evolutionary adaptation of the nisin gene cluster to enable its successful establishment in other cells following horizontal transfer.
Nisin is an antimicrobial peptide produced and secreted by several L. lactis strains and is specifically active against Gram-positive bacteria. In previous studies, nisin was purified via cation exchange chromatography at low pH employing a single-step elution using 1 M NaCl. Here, we describe an optimized purification protocol using a five-step NaCl elution to remove contaminants. The obtained nisin is devoid of impurities and shows high bactericidal activity against the nisin-sensitive L. lactis strain NZ9000. Purified nisin exhibits an IC50 of ~3 nM, which is a tenfold improvement as compared to nisin obtained via the one-step elution procedure.
Stable, pendant polyethylene oxide (PEO) layers were formed on medical-grade Pellethane® and Tygon® polyurethane surfaces, by adsorption and gamma-irradiation of PEO-polybutadiene-PEO triblock surfactants. Coated and uncoated polyurethanes were challenged individually or sequentially with nisin (a small polypeptide with antimicrobial activity) and/or fibrinogen, and then analyzed with time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry (TOF-SIMS). Data reduction by robust principal components analysis (PCA) allowed detection of outliers, and distinguished adsorbed nisin and fibrinogen. Fibrinogen-contacted surfaces, with or without nisin, were very similar on uncoated polymer surfaces, consistent with nearly complete displacement or coverage of previously-adsorbed nisin by fibrinogen. In contrast, nisin-loaded PEO layers remained essentially unchanged upon challenge with fibrinogen, suggesting that the adsorbed nisin is stabilized within the pendant PEO layer, while the peptide-loaded PEO layer retains its ability to repel large proteins. Coatings of PEO loaded with therapeutic polypeptides on medical polymers have the potential to be used to produce anti-fouling and biofunctional surfaces for implantable or blood-contacting devices.
Nisin; fibrinogen; TOF-SIMS; protein adsorption; medical polymers; PEO-polybutadiene-PEO triblock surfactants; robust PCA
Precursor nisin is a model posttranslationally modified precursor lantibiotic that can be structurally divided into a leader peptide sequence and a modifiable core peptide part. The nisin core peptide clearly plays an important role in the precursor nisin – nisin modification enzymes interactions, since it has previously been shown that the construct containing only the nisin leader sequence is not sufficient to pull-down the nisin modification enzymes NisB and NisC. Serines and threonines in the core peptide part are the residues that NisB specifically dehydrates, and cysteines are the residues that NisC stereospecifically couples to the dehydrated amino acids. Here, we demonstrate that increasing the number of negatively charged residues in the core peptide part of precursor nisin, which are absent in wild-type nisin, does not abolish binding of precursor nisin to the modification enzymes NisB and NisC, but dramatically decreases the antimicrobial potency of these nisin mutants. An unnatural precursor nisin variant lacking all serines and threonines in the core peptide part and an unnatural precursor nisin variant lacking all cysteines in the core peptide part still bind the nisin modification enzymes NisB and NisC, suggesting that these residues are not essential for direct interactions with the nisin modification enzymes NisB and NisC. These results are important for lantibiotic engineering studies.
The cell wall of a yeast cell forms a barrier for various proteinaceous and nonproteinaceous molecules. Nisin, a small polypeptide and a well-known preservative active against gram-positive bacteria, was tested with wild-type Saccharomyces cerevisiae. This peptide had no effect on intact cells. However, removal of the cell wall facilitated access of nisin to the membrane and led to cell rupture. The roles of individual components of the cell wall in protection against nisin were studied by using synchronized cultures. Variation in nisin sensitivity was observed during the cell cycle. In the S phase, which is the phase in the cell cycle in which the permeability of the yeast wall to fluorescein isothiocyanate dextrans is highest, the cells were most sensitive to nisin. In contrast, the cells were most resistant to nisin after a peak in expression of the mRNA of cell wall protein 2 (Cwp2p), which coincided with the G2 phase of the cell cycle. A mutant lacking Cwp2p has been shown to be more sensitive to cell wall-interfering compounds and Zymolyase (J. M. Van der Vaart, L. H. Caro, J. W. Chapman, F. M. Klis, and C. T. Verrips, J. Bacteriol. 177:3104–3110, 1995). Here we show that of the single cell wall protein knockouts, a Cwp2p-deficient mutant is most sensitive to nisin. A mutant with a double knockout of Cwp1p and Cwp2p is hypersensitive to the peptide. Finally, in yeast mutants with impaired cell wall structure, expression of both CWP1 and CWP2 was modified. We concluded that Cwp2p plays a prominent role in protection of cells against antimicrobial peptides, such as nisin, and that Cwp1p and Cwp2p play a key role in the formation of a normal cell wall.
Class I bacteriocins (lantibiotics) and class II bacteriocins are antimicrobial peptides secreted by gram-positive bacteria. Using two lantibiotics, lacticin 481 and nisin, and the class II bacteriocin coagulin, we showed that bacteriocins can be detected without any purification from whole producer bacteria grown on plates by matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization-time of flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF-MS). When we compared the results of MALDI-TOF-MS performed with samples of whole cells and with samples of crude supernatants of liquid cultures, the former samples led to more efficient bacteriocin detection and required less handling. Nisin and lacticin 481 were both detected from a mixture of their producer strains, but such a mixture can yield additional signals. We used this method to determine the masses of two lacticin 481 variants, which confirmed at the peptide level the effect of mutations in the corresponding structural gene.