Human β-defensin-3 (HBD3) is a small, cationic, host defence peptide with broad antimicrobial activities and diverse innate immune functions. HBD3 binds to many microbial antigens and, in this study, we hypothesised that the known binding of HBD3 to Porphyromonas gingivalis recombinant haemagglutinin B (rHagB) alters, but does not inhibit, the binding of rHagB to human dendritic cells. To test this, human myeloid dendritic cells were incubated for 5 min with rHagB, HBD3 + rHagB (10:1 molar ratio), HBD3 or 0.1 M phosphate-buffered saline (PBS) (pH 7.2) and were then rapidly fixed and processed for confocal microscopy and ultramicrotomy. rHagB and HBD3 could be detected with primary monoclonal mouse antibody to rHagB (MoAb 1858) or polyclonal rabbit antibody to HBD3 (P241) and secondary fluorescent-labelled anti-mouse or anti-rabbit antibodies (confocal microscopy) or protein A–colloidal gold (immunoelectron microscopy). In cells incubated with rHagB only, fluorescence and protein A–colloidal gold were seen at the cell surface and throughout the cytoplasm. In cells incubated with HBD3 + rHagB, fluorescence was observed only at the cell surface in a ‘string of pearls’ configuration. Overall, these results suggest that HBD3 binding to rHagB alters, but does not inhibit, the binding of rHagB to human myeloid dendritic cells.
Defensins; Human β-defensin-3; HBD3; Porphyromonas gingivalis; Haemagglutinin B; Dendritic cells; Confocal microscopy
Natural antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) are promising candidates for developing a generation of new antimicrobials to meet the challenge of antibiotic-resistant pathogens such as meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). To facilitate the search for new candidates, we have utilised the Antimicrobial Peptide Database (APD), which contains natural AMPs from bacteria, fungi, plants and animals. This study demonstrates the identification of novel templates against MRSA by screening 30 peptides selected from the APD. These peptides are short (<25 residues), cysteine-free, cationic and represent candidates from different biological sources such as bacteria, insects, arachnids, tunicates, amphibians, fish and mammals. Six peptides, including ascaphin-8, database-screened antimicrobial peptide 1 (DASamP1), DASamP2, lycotoxin I, maculatin 1.3 and piscidin 1, were found to exert potent antimicrobial activity against an MRSA USA300 isolate. Although five of the six peptides showed broad-spectrum antibacterial activity, DASamP1 displayed killing of MRSA in vitro but not of Escherichia coli, Bacillus subtilis or Pseudomonas aeruginosa. In addition, DASamP1 suppressed early biofilm formation in a mouse model of catheter-associated MRSA infection. DASamP1 is a novel, short and potent peptide that will be a useful starting template for further developing novel anti-MRSA peptides.
Antimicrobial peptides; Biofilms; Meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus
Tritrichomonas foetus is a sexually transmitted protozoon that causes genital inflammation and adverse pregnancy outcomes in cattle. Cysteine proteinases (CPs) released by T. foetus degrade immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibodies, complement component 3 and matrix proteins as well as inducing apoptosis of bovine genital epithelial cells. In this study, the efficacies of the vinyl sulfone CP inhibitors K11777 and WRR-483 were tested against CPs of T. foetus. The activity of secreted T. foetus CPs in culture supernatants was decreased in the presence of vinyl sulfone inhibitors. Inhibitor K11777 reduced the in vitro cytopathogenic effects of T. foetus in bovine foetal trophoblast cells, which are relevant target cells since this pathogen interferes with pregnancy. Pre-treatment of T. foetus prior to intravaginal inoculation diminished genital infection in a murine model. Therefore, vinyl sulfone CP inhibitors reduce several effects of T. foetus-secreted CPs, including cytotoxicity on relevant target host cells and genital infection in a murine model. These inhibitors have potential as chemotherapeutic agents against bovine trichomoniasis. Generalisation to human trichomoniasis requires further study.
Tritrichomonas foetus; Trichomonad cysteine proteinase; Cysteine proteinase inhibitors
Transduction of salivary glands with antimicrobial peptide genes has great potential for oral infection control. Our ultimate goal is to introduce antimicrobial peptide genes into salivary glands that secrete these peptides into saliva to control bacterial/fungal infection in the oral cavity. However, an animal study model to test this potential has not been established. Therefore, we determined to test (i) whether the potent antimicrobial peptide human β-defensin-2 (hBD-2) can be overexpressed in saliva after transduction of salivary glands and (ii) whether oral fungal infection can be developed in a NOD/SCID murine model. Lentiviral vector SIN18cPPTRhMLV bearing hBD-2 cDNA was introduced into SCID mouse submandibular glands via cannulation. Reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), immunohistochemistry or enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) were performed to detect hBD-2 expression in glands or in saliva. Candida albicans 613p was inoculated orally into SCID mice to establish oral candidiasis. Whilst expression of hBD-2 was detected in mouse salivary glands by RT-PCR and immunohistochemistry 1 day or 1 week following delivery of lentivirus, hBD-2 was not detected in saliva. There was recoverable C. albicans from the oral cavity and gastrointestinal tract 4 days to 4 weeks after infection, but there was no establishment of observable oral candidiasis in SCID mice under a stereomicroscope. Our data indicate that lentiviral vectors transduce mouse salivary glands, but not at a sufficient level to allow hBD-2 detection in saliva. Other vectors for gene transduction and additional treatment of SCID mice to establish oral candidiasis are needed in order to utilise mouse salivary glands to test antimicrobial gene therapy.
hBD-2; Lentiviral vectors; Mouse salivary glands; Candida albicans; SCID mice
In a project to characterise new antibacterial chemotypes from plants, hyperenone A and hypercalin B were isolated from the hexane and chloroform extracts of the aerial parts of Hypericum acmosepalum. The structures of both compounds were characterised by extensive one- and two-dimensional nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy and were confirmed by mass spectrometry. Hyperenone A and hypercalin B exhibited antibacterial activity against multidrug-resistant strains of Staphylococcus aureus, with minimum inhibition concentration ranges of 2–128 mg/L and 0.5–128 mg/L, respectively. Hyperenone A also showed growth-inhibitory activity against Mycobacterium tuberculosis H37Rv and Mycobacterium bovis BCG at 75 mg/L and 100 mg/L. Neither hyperenone A nor hypercalin B inhibited the growth of Escherichia coli and both were non-toxic to cultured mammalian macrophage cells. Both compounds were tested for their ability to inhibit the ATP-dependent MurE ligase of M. tuberculosis, a crucial enzyme in the cytoplasmic steps of peptidoglycan biosynthesis. Hyperenone A inhibited MurE selectively, whereas hypercalin B did not have any effect on enzyme activity.
Hypericum acmosepalum; Hyperenone A; Hypercalin B; Staphylococcus aureus; Tuberculosis; Peptidoglycan; MurE ligase
Tigecycline resistance has been attributed to ramA overexpression and subsequent acrA upregulation. The ramA locus, originally identified in Klebsiella pneumoniae, has homologues in Enterobacter and Salmonella spp. In this study, we identify in silico that the ramR binding site is also present in Citrobacter spp. and that Enterobacter, Citrobacter and Klebsiella spp. share key regulatory elements in the control of the romA–ramA locus. RACE (rapid amplification of cDNA ends) mapping indicated that there are two promoters from which romA–ramA expression can be regulated in K. pneumoniae. Correspondingly, electrophoretic binding studies clearly showed that purified RamA and RamR proteins bind to both of these promoters. Hence, there appear to be two RamR binding sites within the Klebsiella romA–ramA locus. Like MarA, RamA binds the promoter region, implying that it might be subject to autoregulation. We have identified changes within ramR in geographically distinct clinical isolates of K. pneumoniae. Intriguingly, levels of romA and ramA expression were not uniformly affected by changes within the ramR gene, thereby supporting the dual promoter finding. Furthermore, a subset of strains sustained no changes within the ramR gene but which still overexpressed the romA–ramA genes, strongly suggesting that a secondary regulator may control ramA expression.
Klebsiella pneumoniae; romA; ramA; ramR; acrA; Tigecycline
Trichomoniasis, caused by the protozoan Trichomonas vaginalis, is usually treated with metronidazole, however resistance is on the rise. In this study, N-chlorotaurine (NCT), a new endogenous mild active chlorine compound for topical use, killed T. vaginalis in vitro within 15 min of treatment at a concentration of 55 mM (1%), which is well tolerated by human tissue. The activity of NCT was further enhanced by addition of ammonium chloride (NH4Cl). A combination of 5.5 mM (0.1%) NCT plus 19 mM (0.1%) NH4Cl killed 100% of trichomonads within 5 min.
Trichomonas vaginalis; Susceptible; N-Chlorotaurine; Oxidant; In vitro
Leishmaniasis is a major health problem in many parts of the world, caused by various species of Leishmania. Amastigotes are the clinically relevant form of the parasite in the human host and reside in the parasitophorous vacuole within macrophages. Polymer–drug conjugates have been used for lysosomotropic drug delivery and have already shown potential in anticancer and antileishmanial chemotherapy. We synthesised N-(2-hydroxypropyl)methacrylamide–amphotericin B (HPMA–AmB) copolymer conjugates in which the AmB was attached to the polymer through a degradable GlyPheLeuGly linker. Antileishmanial activity was assessed in vitro against intracellular amastigotes in host macrophages [murine peritoneal exudate macrophages (PEMs), murine bone marrow-derived macrophages (BMMs) and differentiated THP-1 cells]. The most potent copolymers had 50% effective concentration (EC50) values of 0.03 μg/mL AmB equivalent against Leishmania donovani amastigotes in PEMs and BMMs and an EC50 of 0.57 μg/mL AmB equivalent against L. donovani in THP-1 cells. This activity was comparable with free AmB (EC50 = 0.03–0.07 μg/mL against L. donovani in PEMs and BMMs and 0.24–0.42 μg/mL against amastigotes in THP-1 cells) and Fungizone® (EC50 = 0.04–0.07 μg/mL against amastigotes in PEMs). Conjugates also showed potent in vivo activity with ca. 50% inhibition of parasite burden at 1 mg/kg body weight.
Leishmaniasis; Copolymers; Amphotericin B