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1.  Susceptibility of Gardnerella vaginalis Biofilms to Natural Antimicrobials Subtilosin, ε-Poly-L-Lysine, and Lauramide Arginine Ethyl Ester 
Bacterial vaginosis is a common vaginal infection associated with numerous gynecological and obstetric complications. This condition is characterized by the presence of thick adherent vaginal biofilms, composed mainly of Gardnerella vaginalis. This organism is thought to be the primary aetiological cause of the infection paving the way for various opportunists to colonize the niche. Previously, we reported that the natural antimicrobials subtilosin, ε-poly-L-lysine, and lauramide arginine ethyl ester selectively inhibit the growth of this pathogen. In this study, we used plate counts to evaluate the efficacy of these antimicrobials against established biofilms of G. vaginalis. Additionally, we validated and compared two rapid methods (ATP viability and resazurin assays) for the assessment of cell viability in the antimicrobial-treated G. vaginalis biofilms. Out of the tested antimicrobials, lauramide arginine ethyl ester had the strongest bactericidal effect, followed by subtilosin, with clindamycin and polylysine showing the weakest effect. In comparison to plate counts, ATP viability and resazurin assays considerably underestimated the bactericidal effect of some antimicrobials. Our results indicate that these assays should be validated for every new application.
PMCID: PMC3457663  PMID: 23024575
2.  Production of the Lantibiotic Salivaricin A and Its Variants by Oral Streptococci and Use of a Specific Induction Assay To Detect Their Presence in Human Saliva 
Salivaricin A (SalA), the first Streptococcus salivarius lantibiotic to be characterized, appears to be inhibitory to most Streptococcus pyogenes strains. A variant of the SalA structural gene (salA1) is present in more than 90% of S. pyogenes strains, but only strains of M serotype 4 and T pattern 4 produce the biologically active peptide. The present study identifies four additional variants (salA2 to salA5) of the SalA structural gene and demonstrates that each of the corresponding inhibitory peptides (SalA2 to SalA5) is produced in vitro. These variants appear to be similar to SalA and SalA1 in their inhibitory activity against Micrococcus luteus and in their ability to act as inducers of SalA production. It had previously been shown that S. pyogenes strain SF370 had a deletion (of approximately 2.5 kb) in the salM and salT genes of the salA1 locus. In the present study, several additional characteristic deletions within the salA1 loci were identified. S. pyogenes strains of the same M serotype all share the same salA1 locus structure. Since S. salivarius is a predominant member of the normal oral flora of healthy humans, strains producing anti-S. pyogenes lantibiotics, such as SalA, may have excellent potential for use as oral probiotics. In the present study, we have used a highly specific SalA induction system to directly detect the presence of SalA in the saliva of humans who either naturally harbor populations of SalA-producing S. salivarius or who have been colonized with the SalA2-producing probiotic S. salivarius K12.
PMCID: PMC1392966  PMID: 16461700
3.  Molecular and Genetic Characterization of a Novel Nisin Variant Produced by Streptococcus uberis 
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.
PMCID: PMC1392965  PMID: 16461661

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